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Epson Expression Premium XP-640 Review
Price: $150 List | $59.99 at Amazon
Pros: Low initial cost, good text, graphics, and photos
Cons: High operating costs
Bottom line: A great choice for someone who prints occasionally but wants a versatile machine for when the need arises
The Epson Expression Premium XP-60 is an inexpensive inkjet multifunction printer that can print, scan, and copy. While not a standout in any of our tests, it offered reasonable performance across the board. This combination of economy and reliability earned the Expression our Best Inkjet for a Tight Budget award. Its great for people who don't print in high volumes but need the full functionality of an all-in-one device. If you're looking for an inexpensive option for printing text in high volume, check out the Brother HL-L2340DW. It offers the text quality and efficiency of a laser printer at a low price.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This graph compares how the Epson Expression Premium XP-60's performance in our testing compared to the others printers we tested.
Here we expound upon the Expression's performance in each one of our individual tests.
The Epson Expression scored a 6 out of 10 in out text quality testing. This made it about average in a metric where scores ranged from 3 to 9.
Like most inkjets the Expression printed bold and solid characters in our text quality tests. However, when viewed under our microscope those characters also had jagged, irregular edges and some spots where excess ink had seemingly bled outside the lines. This problem was exacerbated when printing at smaller fonts (10 and below). Generally these irregularities wouldn't be completely obvious to the naked eye, and thus won't bother most people, but the text won't stand up to very close scrutiny.
In line with most of the other inkjets we tested, the Expression did fairly poorly in our operating cost testing. It earned a 3 out 0f 10, towards the bottom of a metric where scores ranged from 2 to 7.
The Expression's poor score in this metric is largely due to its exorbitant color printing costs. It prints color at a rate of $0.12 a page or $61.67 a ream, which was the highest figure we calculated in our testing. It did a bit better with black and white printing costs, which clocked in at $0.05 per page or $26.00 per ream. This was just above the average in our testing. It was also a bit above average in our estimated lifetime cost calculation, which came out to $635. Despite these above average costs, The Expression still earned our Best Inkjet for a Tight Budget award due to its low initial cost, which still makes it a good value for those that do not print at high volumes, but still need a versatile printing option for when the need arises.
Ease of Use
The Expression was again an average performer in our ease of use testing, scoring a 6 out of 10 in a metric with scores ranging from 4 to 9.
The Expression has a fairly nice interface with a large screen that clearly displays menus. It would be easier to navigate through those menus if it were a touchscreen, but alas you must navigate with a set of arrow buttons instead. This isn't a huge deal, but can definitely feel a bit tedious compared to the touchscreen models. The Expression also has a USB port for printing from a flash drive, and is one of the few models we've encountered that also has an SD card slot.
Where the Expression really lost some points was in its initial setup. It was the only printer we used that forced was to print out multiple test pages (pictured below), and then manually enter feedback based on how those test pages looked. This is a one time process, but we definitely didn't expect to have to sit down with the printer for 35 minutes to get it up and running.
Graphics and Photos
The Expression earned a relatively good score of 5 out of 10 in our graphics and photos testing. This put it above average in a metric where scores ranged from 2 to 7.
The Expression was one of the better performers when it came to printing out photos, which were high resolution and had no visible print lines (small breaks in the image that can appear when printing large photos). However, the colors were just a tad faded when compared to the HP Envy 4520, which printed the best photos in our testing.
The Expression also printed crisp bar charts and line graphs, though the color could sometimes look a bit washed out in these as well.
The Expression scored a 4 out of 10 in our printing speed testing, a metric where scores ranged from 3 to 9.
The Expression is actually fairly slow when printing text. In our testing produced 8 pages per minute when printing single sided and 4 pages per minute when printing duplex. This is a snail's paced when compared to the HP M402n, which printed 25 and 21 pages per minute, respectively. The Expression salvaged its score in this metric due to its fast photo printing abilities. It spit out a full page image in just 23 seconds, which was a quarter of the time of the slowest model and just 10 seconds off the fastest.
The Expression lists for $150, but is often available for much less. At the time of this writing we've seen it available from online retailers for nearly half that. Due to its relatively high ink costs it isn't a great value for those who print frequently. However, if you print frequently but need the flexibility of being able to print both decent photos and text then this is a great value.
The Epson Expression Premium XP-60 offer the versatility of inkjet technology in an inexpensive package. Its ink cost make it a poor choice for those that print in high volumes, but it a a great value for occasional printers whose needs include both photo heavy documents and text.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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