The Epson PictureMate PM-400 delivers color rendition on par with the full-size models and is surprisingly faithful to the original image. Conversely, the machine is limited to the smaller formats, maxing out at 5" x 7", which might be a good thing since the image resolution is poor. Additionally, this machine costs a pretty penny for a mid-size printer. Yet, when you add up all the pros and cons, if you want high-end results without having to go all in on a full-size machine, this model is definitely worth a look.
Epson PictureMate PM-400 Review
Pros: Great color rendition, good dynamic range, good tonal range
Cons: Poor resolution, few paper options, relatively expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Epson PictureMate PM-400 is at the top end of the mid-size printer class in overall performance. However, this status belies the drawback inherent in this machine's performance. Case in point, this model renders colors on par with machines costing hundreds of dollars more, yet the resolution is poor. This machine has a broad dynamic range, yet it slumps in the dark grays. This machine has a below-average cost per print, but it is relatively expensive. Despite the inconsistencies, this machine fills a hole in the market left by the other mid-size models: it's compact and it kicks out quality prints up to 5" x 7".
We have to say that we were really surprised at the Epson's color output. It is top-notch. Despite some of the stepped transitions in the dark grays, we were also quite impressed with the range of tones from white to black — what is referred to as the dynamic range.
While the printer doesn't have tons of options for paper and print sizes, it has more than some of the other mid-size models. All said this machine would be a good option for printing pics for the photo album or to hang on the fridge.
The main thing we don't like about this machine is the cost. This machine is significantly more expensive than its peers and we do not see what exactly one is getting for that extra money. Ture, the color is good, but the resolution is really poor. Yes, the dynamic range is good, but not so good as to warrant the price hike.
Our tests for color and grayscale were run on both economy and high-end paper. Unfortunately, this machine's best work is done on the high-end paper, potentially adding to the long-term operating costs.
Bottom line, we do not find this machine to be a very good value. It costs significantly more than comparable machines in the same size class. Moreover, we found its attributes to be counterbalanced by its deficits.
Long story short, the results of the Epson PictureMate PM-400 tests were all over the place. In some evaluations, the machine punched way above its weight. However, the machine followed up these performances with utter flops. Add to this a hefty price tag and it should be no wonder why this machine garnered no awards.
— Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer