Epson SureColor P700 Review
Pros: Many print dimensions, several print mediums, low-cost prints, high image fidelity
Cons: Physically large, pricy
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Epson SureColor P700
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|Pros||Many print dimensions, several print mediums, low-cost prints, high image fidelity||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||Physically large, pricy||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 comprehensive printing machine delivers professional results, making it an easy pick for dedicated photographers||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 SureColor P700||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 SureColor P700||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)||13" x 129"||13" x 44"||8" x 10"||4" x 6"||2" x 3"|
|Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print)||$0.37||$0.45||$0.58||$0.43||$0.50|
|Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches)||20.19" x 14.44" x 7.34"||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)||83 seconds||34 seconds||128 seconds||51 seconds||40 seconds|
|Color palette (ink cartridges)||Cyan, Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Yellow, Gray, Light Gray, Violet, Photo Black and Matte 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||N/A||N/A||N/A||SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, miniSDHC, microSD microSDHC and microSDXC||N/A|
|Ink type||Pigment-based||Dye-based||Pigment (black) and dye-based (color)||Dye-based||N/A|
|Connectivity||Hi-Speed USB 3.0 (1 port), 100Base-T Ethernet (1 port), 2.4 GHz (802.11n) and 5 GHz Wireless (IEEE802.11 b/g/n/ac)6, Wi-Fi Direct 6, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Epson Print Layout for iOS||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||Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later; Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7 (32-bit,64-bit)||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 SureColor P700 is an elite home photo printer that can legitimately claim to be of professional quality. At the same time, the Epson is easy to set up and operate while there are few limitations imposed on the user in terms of the print medium and the dimensions that they can use to actualize their vision. With performance characteristics such as these, one may expect a commensurate cost, and they would not be amiss in this expectation. This is one costly unit — though not out of proportion with what one receives in return for the expense.
Perhaps the most important evaluation in this review is the quality of the color prints. This is simply because most people want to print in color. To assess the quality of color renderings of the Epson SureColor P700, we use a set of 7 stock photos that highlight the variety of challenges in rendering faithful coloring in an image. While we will detail our assessment of the outcomes below, suffice it to say that the P700 nearly knocked our proverbial socks off. In other parlances, the color accuracy, resolution, and general quality was without parallel in the class.
Given such high praise, you may be wondering how we arrived at such an estimation. As we briefly mentioned above, we use a fixed set of images that allow us to make apples-to-apples comparisons across all the models in the test group. Specifically, testers are looking at two aspects of the print, resolution and overall impression. When compared to the other leading machines, the P700 is just a bit flatter in terms of saturation and contrast. However, its dynamic range is, bar none, the best of the printers in the class. Moreover, this unit provides those inclined to tinker with more control over the level of saturation, contrast, and range than the competition, thus making for a print that is unique to the user.
Black and White
The black and white analysis is as important as its color counterpart, though for different reasons. Before delving into the reasons why the above statement is true, let's first say that the tests in this evaluation are very similar to the color testing except, of course, that we use a set of stock grayscale images for comparison. Aside from that, the judgment again focuses on resolution and overall impression. While none of the printers we assessed blew our minds with the exceptional quality of their grayscale renderings, the Epson SureColor P700 certainly set the bar for the class.
Having established that the P700 is a leader in the black and white evaluation, let's wrap back around to the idea that grayscale is a critical aspect of a printer's overall quality, despite the format's relative lack of popularity. Grayscale showcases the quality of a printer's tonal transitions as well as its border definition. Indeed, it is the simplicity of these two features that make them so hard to achieve. Moreover, lack of color makes it very hard to hide the printer's lack of technical precision. That said, the P700 deserves special recognition for its impressive dynamic range and neutral color renderings.
As the name suggests, the capabilities analysis looks at the range of print dimension, print speed, paper capacity, number of ink cartridges, and diversity of print media that the model will accommodate. Unlike the oft-referenced jack of all trades, the Epson SureColor P700 is essentially a master of all the aspects of performance capacity. Admittedly, this is a busy metric that, in the case of the P700, necessarily involves lengthy lists of paper types and sizes, to name just a few of the avenues of inquiry. To save you some tears of boredom, we will stick to ranges as opposed to rattling off lists of paper dimensions, et cetera.
Arguably, the most important component of this metric is print dimensions, so we will start there. This printer uses a paper roll that is 129" long and 13" wide. With few exceptions, it will print anything that fits within those parameters. The P700 will also print flat paper in common sizes ranging from 3.5" x 5" up to 13" x 19". The photo paper tray will accommodate 30 sheets of standard photo paper, although the roll is better suited to bulk printing if that's what you're after.
Moving on to matters of pallet and print medium, this machine is a veritable peacock. Firstly, the P700 will print on just about everything short of your backside. Well, actually, you can print temporary tattoos with this unit, but here we digressed. The printer will accommodate sheet media up to 1.5 mm thick of Epson Professional, Signature Worthy, and Legacy papers, as well as third-party media. It will print double-sided matte (for brochures) as well as Fine Art Paper. The only downside of this unit's capacity is that it is pretty slow to print — ~86 seconds per 4" x 6" color print. Yet, we think that the cost in time is a small price to pay considering its drawing on a vast color palette supported by no less than 10 ink cartridges.
Often overlooked when sizing up a potential printer purchase is the long-term cost of operating the machine. This is actually a pretty hard figure to produce, but that's where you're in luck. We did the heavy lifting to present you with a simple cost per 4" x 6" color print. While the Epson SureColor P700 has a pretty hefty upfront cost, it is among the cheapest in terms of cost per print at $0.37. To put that in perspective, the average for the class is $0.56, and the price for that same photo at one national retail chain is $0.33. Not bad, right?
For those of you interested in the nuts and bolts of how we produced this figure, the crux of the matter is establishing how much ink it takes to cover 144 square inches or 1 square foot of paper. The answer is approximately 1 milliliter. Once we have that number, we simply divide the cost of the ink by the volume (in milliliters) of ink, factor in the cost of paper, and presto! Cost per print. This is a rough number, but our testing showed it to be on the conservative side and that the differences between the printers, if not the actual cost per print, are quite accurate.
The set-up metric addresses those unfortunate circumstances when you receive a much-awaited gadget and then, instead of enjoying it, you spend half of your weekend trying to get it to work. To remove the sting of such an experience, we have assessed photo printers from pulling them out of the box to printing the first picture so that you know what you're signing up for ahead of time. The good news is that the Epson SureColor P700 has about an average difficulty level for set-up.
If you are at all like this author, you may have read that last sentence and thought, how is that good news? A fair question. The reason why the average rating is good news is that the P700 is being compared to mini printers that are essentially Polaroid printers for cell phones and have no set-up aside from making a Bluetooth connection. The fact that the P700 got an average score speaks to the ease of this full-size, highly technical printer's set-up. You do have to follow a multi-stepped process that requires one to download software. That said, if you follow the steps (we're talking to you fellas, just read the instructions), it's no problem at all.
The question of value is often a personal one. However, we look at value as a cost to performance ratio. In this light, the P700 is neither a deal nor a rip-off. This unit's price pretty much matches its performance. However, if you don't need a professional-quality printer, then the value will necessarily decrease as its performance will be underappreciated.
This review of the Epson SureColor P700 traverses every aspect of interest to both experienced and lay photographers. Specifically, we assessed both color and grayscale printing quality, print capabilities such as dimensions and paper type, as well as price per print and the set-up process. All in all, this article covers everything one will need to know before deciding to put this product in their cart. With that, remember to enjoy the moment but capture a few to hang on the wall, too.
— Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer