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Epson SureColor P600 Review

This do-it-all machine delivers professional quality results and is one of our favorite models
Epson SureColor P600
Credit: Jason Peters
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $800 List
Pros:  Broad print dimensions, vast print mediums, low print costs, fantastic image fidelity
Cons:  Huge footprint, expensive
Manufacturer:   Epson
By Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 13
  • Color - 35% 8
  • Black and White - 35% 9
  • Print Capabilities - 15% 9
  • Operating Cost - 10% 8
  • Set-Up - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Epson SureColor's piezo drop on demand inkjet technology and 8 separate inks cartridges render fantastic color as well as grayscale images. This machine is compatible with an expansive variety of print mediums and prints in dimensions ranging from 3.5" x 5" to 13" x 129" when using paper rolls. While we are quite impressed with this machine's printing capabilities and the quality of the prints, it's not for everyone. The cost and the size of the machine will make it less than attractive to the casual user. That said, if you are serious about getting your photographs out into the world and hanging on some walls, you can't do much better than the SureColor.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Epson SureColor P600
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $800 List$500 List$350 List$250 List
$249.99 at Amazon
$100 List
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Pros Broad print dimensions, vast print mediums, low print costs, fantastic image fidelityHigh resolution, vivid colors, great dynamic rangeConsistent color, easy set-up, broad format optionsGreat color rendition, good dynamic range, good tonal rangeEasy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizes
Cons Huge footprint, expensiveHard to set-up, big footprintMicrobanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areasPoor resolution, few paper options, relatively expensiveMicrobanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturation
Bottom Line This near-professional quality machine leaves little to be desiredThis is a top-tier, professional level printer at a reasonable priceThis printer yields high-quality images at a reasonable priceThis spendy machine is among the best of mid-size printers in color rendition and dynamic rangeA quality mid-size machine that will appeal to the casual user
Rating Categories Epson SureColor P600 Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Expression Photo... Epson PictureMate... Canon PIXMA TR4520
Color (35%)
8
8
6
5
6
Black And White (35%)
9
9
7
7
6
Print Capabilities (15%)
9
7
8
5
5
Operating Cost (10%)
8
7
7
7
5
Set Up (5%)
6
4
5
6
6
Specs Epson SureColor P600 Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Expression Photo... Epson PictureMate... Canon PIXMA TR4520
Resolutioin (dots per inch) 5760 x 1440 4800 x 2400 5760 x 1440 5760 x 1440 4800 x 1200
Max photo deminsions (inches) 13" x 129" 13" x 19" 13" x 44" 5" x 7" 8" x 10"
Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print) $0.36 $0.40 $0.45 $0.45 $0.58
Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches) 9" x 24.2" x 14.5" 8.5" x 27.2" x 15.2" 6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5" 3.3" x 9" x 6.9" 7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7"
Printing technology Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD) Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD)
Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print) 63 seconds 55 seconds 34 seconds 86 seconds 128 seconds
Color palette (ink cartridges) Matte Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Black, Light Light Black Black, Gray, Light Gray, Cyan, Photo Cyan, Magenta, Photo Magenta, Yellow Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Black plus color cartridge
LCD screen Yes No Yes Yes No
Touch Screen Yes No No No No
Battery No No No No No
Memory cards supported N/A N/A N/A SD, SDHC, SDXC, MiniSD, MiniSDHC, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC N/A
Ink type Pigment-based Dye-based Dye-based Dye-based Pigment (black) and dye-based (color)
Roller paper Yes No No No No
Connectivity Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print support; USB 2.0, Wireless n1, Wi-Fi Direct1 and 100Mbit Ethernet, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (1 port), 100Base-T Ethernet (1 port), Wi-Fi CERTIFIED (802.11n only), Wi-Fi Direct
Epson Connect 4: Epson iPrint Mobile App, Apple Airprint, Google Cloud Print
Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n), Ethernet
Hi-Speed USB, PictBridge (Cable not included)
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 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
Hi-Speed USB
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
Operating system requirements Apple macOS 10.13.x-10.12.x, OS X: 10.11x-10.7x
&
Microsoft Windows®: 10, 8.1, 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3 32-bit Intel processor
Mac OS X v10.5.8 - 10.9.x7
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 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: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
Scanner No No No No Yes (bed and feed)
Touch Screen Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The SureColor stands apart from the class of home photo printers. This machine boosts piezo drop on demand inkjets that produce three drop sizes and 1440 dpi resolution that is backed by precision hardware facilitating spot-on registration in the application of its expansive color palette. This model will print on just about every kind of photo paper, as well as canvas, artboards and CD/ DVD labels. While this machine is expensive, it makes up for it in price per print cost, which comes in at $0.36 per 4" x 6" photo.

Performance Comparison


Skin tones and their fidelity to the original image are a large part...
Skin tones and their fidelity to the original image are a large part of the color evaluation.
Credit: Laura Casner

Color


The Epson was a standard setter in the color evaluation. Its consistency across a variety of print sizes, resolution and fidelity to the original images was, by and large, outstanding. Our color evaluation was divided between resolution and the overall impression of the test images. Far from being subjective, we established specific print characteristics that had to be satisfied for a good impression to be made. Among these are accurate color depictions, crisp border definition, as well as the lack of bleeding, microbanding and stepped tonal transitions. Resolution, on the other hand, is an assessment of the detail maintained in an image in comparison to the same image produced by the other printers in the review.


We estimate that the SureColor's color accuracy was in the range of 90%, with a bit of inconsistency in light skin tones which showed just a touch of red. However, darker skin tones were quite good. This machine also retained the most minute details, particularly in highlights and shadows. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this machine's color performance is that there was no breakdown in quality from the small to large print formats. The large formats were where we often observed issues in stepped transitions and a breakdown in definition in other machines.

Epson SureColor's dynamic range is tremendous.
Epson SureColor's dynamic range is tremendous.
Credit: Laura Casner

Black and White


The black and white analysis tracked with the color both in the assessment criteria as well as the SureColor's performance. To be sure, this machine has a leg up on the competition with its 3 different shades of black ink (matte black, light black, and light light black). While other models employ multiple shades of black ink, this machine's grayscale outcomes were simply stellar.


As with the color evaluation, the Epson's resolution across all print formats was top-notch. Moreover, the tone of the images was the most neutral. However, some of the images showed just a bit of magenta which imbued them with a warmer overall tone as well as a subtle color cast. Despite this minor hitch, the dynamic range delivered by this machine was off the charts. We had all the models under review print a grayscale dynamic range matrix and we could not find a flaw in the SureColor's rendering. This range was readily apparent in images with bright highlights and dark shadows as they maintained details that lesser machines lost.

With nine separate ink cartridges, it's no wonder that this machine...
With nine separate ink cartridges, it's no wonder that this machine produces vivid colors.
Credit: Laura Casner

Print Capabilities


As has been discussed in previous sections of this article, the SureColor's print capabilities are prodigious. The evaluation of what we call capabilities is primarily a cataloging of the machine's specifications such as print medium compatibility (what can be printed on and in what dimensions) as well as how many colors are in its ink palette. Additionally, we tested each machine's print time and paper capacity.


While the Epson didn't set any records in print time (63 seconds), it covered the widest range of print substrates. Additionally, the machine can print from a paper roll. So, it can essentially print 13" x 129" split-up however you like. It will also draw flat paper from a tray that can accommodate 30 4" x 6" sheets. Not too shabby.

Don't forget to include long-term costs to the price of the printer...
Don't forget to include long-term costs to the price of the printer. We expressed this in the cost per 4" x 6" color print.
Credit: Laura Casner

Operating Costs


In contrast to the upfront "sticker price" of a printer is the operating cost. The operating cost is simply the sum of the ink and paper costs. While the SureColor is a big purchase, if used regularly it will make up for it in the low cost of its prints. Our conservative estimate has it printing a 4" x 6" color image for just $0.36. To put that in perspective, the national chain printing lab we looked at came in at $0.33 per 4" x 6", and the quality was noticeably lower.


Getting a cost per 4" x 6" sheet of paper is easy, it's getting a cost for the ink to cover that paper that's hard. As such, we relied on the ink consumption data provided by large scale printing operations and then checked it against the ink we consumed printing over 320 pictures for this review. As we have said, the estimates appear to be conservative as we use less ink than the data suggested, which is a good thing for budgeting purposes.

Set-up is eased with an LCD screen to guide one through the process...
Set-up is eased with an LCD screen to guide one through the process. However, it still requires a software download and network connection.
Credit: Laura Casner

Set-up


As you might expect, the set-up metric assesses how easy (or hard) it is to go from a boxed-up printer to having a printed image in hand. As the desktop printers go, the Epson was straightforward. The instructions were easy to follow. The necessary driver — software that converts an image into a format the printer understands — was reasonably quick to download and is available for both PC and Macs. This model also has an LCD touchscreen that makes the set-up that much easier. Finally, the printer was pre-calibrated, which means that the first print coming out was of a decent quality.


While this machine was relatively painless for us to get going, that is not to say that you don't have to read the instructions carefully and have the appropriate operating system on your computer. If these prerequisites are met, we think that you'll agree with our assessment.

Value


Several variables fall into a value assessment of a photo printer. Without a doubt, this printer is awesome. However, it's upfront cost is high. If you print a lot of photos, then it will save you time and money in the long run, and the quality of the photos will likely leave you satisfied. On the other hand, if you do not use the machine often, then its value goes down as printer heads can clog and ink evaporate in neglected machines. That said, we think that this machine is worth the asking price.

Conclusion


The Epson SureColor is a high-quality machine that has few limitations is print medium and dimensions. This printer renders color as well as black and white images that will leave the pros with little to complain about and will best many of the chain photo labs. Moreover, this model is easy to set-up and the cost per print is among the lowest in the class. However, this machine is probably not worth the cost and space for the casual user looking to pump out 4" x 6" prints every now and then. With these caveats in mind, if you want to step-up your photography game, this machine will give you plenty of room to experiment and develop your skills.

Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer