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 worth a look for the casual photographer.Editor's Note: We updated this review of the Epson PictureMate PM-400 on March 28, 2022, to take a closer look at value and to find comparisons with other similar products.
Epson PictureMate PM-400 Review
Pros: Great color rendition, good dynamic range, good tonal range
Cons: Poor resolution, few paper options, relatively expensive
Compare to Similar Products
Epson PictureMate PM-400
|Price||$270 List||$400 List|
$349.99 at Amazon
|$100 List||$130 List|
$129.00 at Amazon
$99.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Great color rendition, good dynamic range, good tonal range||Consistent color, easy set-up, broad format options||Easy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizes||User-friendly, sharp images, affordable, playful||Convenient, simple, inexpensive, bluetooth connectivity|
|Cons||Poor resolution, few paper options, relatively expensive||Microbanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areas||Microbanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturation||Limited print sizes, limited tray capacity||Relatively low resolution, single print dimension|
|Bottom Line||This machine renders top-notch results for a mid-size printer, but they come at a premium||This low-cost, full-sized machine delivers high-end results||An easy to use mid-size printer at a good price||This portable printer kicks out quality 4" x 6" prints anytime, anywhere||This 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|
|Black and White (35%)|
|Print Capabilities (15%)|
|Operating Cost (10%)|
|Set up (5%)|
|Specs||Epson PictureMate P...||Epson Expression HD...||Canon PIXMA TR4520||Canon SELPHY CP1300||Canon IVY|
|Resolution (dots per inch)||5760 x 1440||5760 x 1440||4800 x 1200||300 x 300||314 x 400|
|Max photo dimensions||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 dimensions||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|
|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|
|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
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
|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
|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. 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 kicks out quality prints up to 5" x 7".
We have to say that we were really surprised at the Epson PictureMates'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 many options for paper and print sizes, it has more than some other mid-size models. This machine would be a good option for printing pics for the photo album or hanging them 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 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.
Should You Buy the Epson PictureMate PM-400?
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 a hefty price tag to this, and it should be no wonder why this machine garnered no awards.
What Other Photo Printers Should You Consider?
We do not find the Epson PictureMate PM-400 to be a very good value. Like the Canon SELPHY CP1300, other mid-sized options produce higher-quality photographs. Even value options like the Canon PIXMA TR4520 can print comparable photographs for much less money.
— Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More