Goodbye Kinko's, Hello Epson Artisan 800
With all the home technology choices available, one of my most difficult decisions was selecting a printer to buy. So I used the "home away from home-office" (Kinko's) for printing, scanning and faxing while looking around for the right printer. I was considering going to Kinko's to print name tags and stickers for the recent LA Moms Blog launch party. But this time I decided it was time to find a printer so that my office could come back home.
My required features included built in Wi-Fi available to the multiple laptops in our house (via our wireless router), plus high-quality fax and scanner capabilities. I needed the printer to have multiple printer settings and a variety of trays so I could print everything from photos, paper documents and nametags/stickers. I also wanted the ability to print photos without the requirement to wire a computer directly into the printer (I download from my digital camera). Along with that, I wanted a printer that has separate printer cartridges for colors so I only need to replace the actual colors that are out - instead of the whole cartridge. Most of all, I am not only a techie but also a busy mom - so the printer needed to be intuitive and easy to use.
As timing would have it (seriously), the One2One Network contacted me to to see if I wanted to review the Epson Artisan 800 Series All-in-One Printer. When I checked the fact sheet, I was happy to see that the printer had ALL my desired features and more.
It also looked so sleek....
The Artisan 800 has a touch panel/LCD for easy instructions along with Wi-Fi networking, multiple print settings and paper trays. The printer is an All-in-One with the ability to print, copy, scan, and fax. I was starting to think that my home office would get some "real" office functionality.
But the real test for any parent using a computer is the overall ease of installation and use.
Well, I opened the big box and sitting on the top was a smaller box labeled "open me first", as if to answer that little voice in my head wondering what I needed to open first.
That "open me first" box had all the goodies and instructions I needed to install the printer, including the software CD (with printer drivers and print creation templates), printer cartridges, installation instructions and Basics Guide. All of that seemed easy, but was it easy to install?
Well, after I removed the printer from the box I only needed to take off all the tape, plug it in and install the CD on my computer....
The next step was to put in the printer cartridges, which was so easy that my 6 year-old did it for me while wearing his orange super hero watch...
The next step was to configure the connections. Those wanting to configure the built in Wi-Fi to their home wireless network can follow the separate installation guide. My DSL was down, so I decided to utilize the good old-fashioned USB cable to connect my laptop to the printer. For those needing to use a USB cable, it's not included with the printer so make sure you have one handy. All the steps were clearly explained in the installation guide, and installation went quickly. Epson also has a comprehensive online technical support site if I did have any questions.
The front of the Epson Artisan 800 has a touch LCD panel that not only displays text instructions but also shows pictures when needed. The bottom right has memory card slots if you want to insert cards directly into the printer. I have a very small desk, and the printer is very compact. I still decided to put it on a little platform under my desk to conserve space and keep the printer off the carpet.
My first test after install was printing and then faxing a document. Because I was having phone line problems, I opted to print the document, scan it - then "email" instead of faxing. That worked like a charm.
Next was the biggest test: printing 100 labels and 300 stickers for the LA Moms Blog launch party using the printer. One of our LA Moms Bloggers created the nametag design in Adobe Illustrator and I purchased the nametag paper. I used the image from our graphic designer to make stickers.
I loaded the nametag paper, adjusted the settings and printed one page to test. I was thrilled that it printed and the color resolution was great. When I tried to print another sheet there was a paper jam because I had not lined the paper up correctly in the tray. Luckily the LCD screen NOT only had text instructions on how to fix the paper jam - but also pictures. So I fixed the jam pronto and preceded to print out the rest of the nametags and stickers.
The end result was that I was able to print PROFESSIONAL level (beautiful) documents from new home office printer after the kids went to sleep, with enough time to have a glass of wine with my husband. And without a late trip to Kinkos.
After rebates, the Epson Artisan 800 is selling for $229.00.
Here is a summary of some of the key features from the fact sheet:
- Smart 7.8” Touch Panel with Tilt and 3.5” LCD.
- Fast printing: Prints and copies in black and color, prints 4”x6” photos in 10 seconds and an 8”x10” in 50 seconds.
- Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking built-in, Bluetooth® photo printing with optional adapter. Wireless 802.11b/g, compatible with 802.11n, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, Ethernet 10/100.
- Two paper trays - adjustable tray to accommodate up to 8.5”x14” media and dedicated photo tray to accommodate 4”x6” and 5”x7” media. Multiple paper options.
- Copies up to 99 pages – no computer required. Reduces and enlarges copies (25 to 400 percent).
- Scans to a computer, memory card and USB flash drive. Scans and saves directly into PDF.
- Send and receive color and black and white faxes, receives up to 180 pages in memory.
- Many printing options: Coloring Books, Personalized Notepaper, Direct CD/DVD printing, Photo Layouts (including wallet size prints or 2, 4, 8, or 20 photos per page and passport photos) and Printable School Papers
- Printing without a computer: Use photos from memory cards or scan items directly onto printable CDs/DVDs, all without a computer. Transform photos into customized notepaper. Prints photos without a computer – compatible with all popular memory card types6, including SD™/SDHC™, xD-Picture Card™, MemoryStick®, CompactFlash®, and MultiMediaCard™
- Six-color Claria™ Hi-Definition ink for 4800 dpi resolution. Uses individual ink cartridges – replace only the color needed. Extends black ink printing – combines color inks to produce black when black ink is low.
- Printer Dimensions and Design (18.4” x 15.2” x 7.8” (W x D x H); 23.8 lbs.
- Compatibility: Windows and Mac Compatibility, Windows®: Vista™, XP, XP Professional x64, 2000, Macintosh®: OS X 10.3.9, 10.4.11 and 10.5.x.