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Epson Expression Premium XP-640 Review

A great choice for someone who prints occasionally but wants a versatile machine for when the need arises
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $150 List | $86 at Amazon
Pros:  Low initial cost, good text, graphics, and photos
Cons:  High operating costs
Manufacturer:   Epson
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Feb 28, 2017
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48
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Text Quality - 25% 6
  • Operating Cost - 25% 3
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Graphics and Photos - 15% 5
  • Printing Speed - 15% 4

The Skinny

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. It's 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-L2350DW. It offers the text quality and efficiency of a laser printer at a low price.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Here we expound upon the Expression's performance in each one of our individual tests.

Text Quality


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.

The Expression produced bold text in our testing that had some irregularities around the edges.
The Expression produced bold text in our testing that had some irregularities around the edges.

Operating Cost


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.

The Expression has a large  clear display.
The Expression has a large, clear display.

Where the Expression really lost some points was in its initial setup. It was the only printer we used that forced us 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, putting it above average in our graphics and photos testing.


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 produced high quality images in our testing  but colors occasionally looked a little faded.
The Expression produced high quality images in our testing, but colors occasionally looked a little faded.

The Expression also printed crisp bar charts and line graphs, though the color could sometimes look a bit washed out in these as well.

Likewise  the Expression printed high quality business graphics  but the colors were sometimes a bit light.
Likewise, the Expression printed high quality business graphics, but the colors were sometimes a bit light.

Printing Speed


The Expression was on the slower side earning a 4 out of 10 in our printing speed testing 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 with 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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


The Epson Expression Premium XP-60 offer the versatility of inkjet technology in an inexpensive package. Its ink cost makes it a poor choice for those that print in high volumes, but it a great value for occasional printers whose needs include both photo heavy documents and text.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata