Reviews You Can Rely On

Epson PictureMate PM-400 Review

This machine renders top-notch results for a mid-size printer, but they come at a premium
Epson PictureMate PM-400
Credit: Jason Peters
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Price:   $250 List | $248.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Great color rendition, good dynamic range, good tonal range
Cons:  Poor resolution, few paper options, relatively expensive
Manufacturer:   Epson
By Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Color - 35% 5
  • Black and White - 35% 7
  • Print Capabilities - 15% 5
  • Operating Cost - 10% 7
  • Set-Up - 5% 6

Our Verdict

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.

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Pros Great color rendition, good dynamic range, good tonal rangeConsistent color, easy set-up, broad format optionsEasy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizesUser-friendly, sharp images, affordable, playfulConvenient, simple, inexpensive, bluetooth connectivity
Cons Poor resolution, few paper options, relatively expensiveMicrobanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areasMicrobanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturationLimited print sizes, limited tray capacityRelatively low resolution, single print dimension
Bottom Line This machine renders top-notch results for a mid-size printer, but they come at a premiumThis low-cost, full-sized machine delivers high-end resultsAn easy to use mid-size printer at a good priceThis portable printer kicks out quality 4" x 6" prints anytime, anywhereThis portable printer captures the fun of the old Polaroid cameras but with a fresh twist
Rating Categories Epson PictureMate P... Epson Expression HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Color (35%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Black And White (35%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Print Capabilities (15%)
5.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
Operating Cost (10%)
7.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Set Up (5%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
Specs Epson PictureMate P... Epson Expression HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Resolutioin (dots per inch) 5760 x 1440 5760 x 1440 4800 x 1200 300 x 300 314 x 400
Max photo deminsions (inches) 5" x 7" 13" x 44" 8" x 10" 4" x 6" 2" x 3"
Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print) $0.45 $0.45 $0.58 $0.43 $0.50
Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches) 3.3" x 9" x 6.9" 6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5" 7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7" 2.5" x 7.1" x 5.4" 0.7" x 3.2" x 4.7"
Printing technology Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD) Inkjet (Dye- sublimation) In paper, thermal-activated dye
Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print) 86 seconds 34 seconds 128 seconds 51 seconds 40 seconds
Color palette (ink cartridges) Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red Black plus color cartridge N/A N/A
LCD screen Yes Yes No Yes No
Touch Screen No No No No No
Battery No No No Yes (sold separately) Yes
Memory cards supported SD, SDHC, SDXC, MiniSD, MiniSDHC, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC N/A N/A SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, miniSDHC, microSD microSDHC and microSDXC N/A
Ink type Dye-based Dye-based Pigment (black) and dye-based (color) Dye-based N/A
Roller paper No No No No No
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB 2.0/Wireless 802.11 b/g/n5, WiFi Direct4 Printing from a Mobile Device:
Epson Connect 6, Epson Email Print, Epson iPrint Mobile App, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Android Printing, Remote Print
iPad, iPhone and Android tablets, Alexa and smartphones; Ethernet networking, andard Connectivity:
Hi-Speed USB, USB Host, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n5, Wi-Fi Direct 5, Ethernet 10/100
Hi-Speed USB
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN, 2.4 GHz, IEEE 802.11b/g)
Memory Card Slot
PictBridge (USB) & Wireless PictBridge (Wireless LAN)
Hi-Speed USB (Cable not included)
USB Flash Memory
Blutooth
Operating system requirements Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 8.x (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows XP SP3 (32-bit), Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.6.8 — 10.10.x8;
Internet access is required to install drivers and software.
Windows 10 8/8.1/Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows Vista (32-bit , 64-bit)
Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.12.x6
Windows:20 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Mac:21
Mac OS X v10.10.5 - macOS v10.13 (High Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:22 iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
Windows:12 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1
Mac:13 Mac OS X v10.10.x - macOS v10.12 (Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:14 iOS, Android™, Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Fire devices15
Android, iOS
Scanner No No Yes (bed and feed) No No

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".

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


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.

Credit: Laura Casner

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.

Dislikes


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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