I’m not one to find all-in-one printers very sexy. I have had a slew of them over my lifetime. Mostly HPs and more recently Canon which did do a good job of printing, scanning, and copying just fine – minus the few paper jams here and there and some network printing issues. The Epson Artisan 800 is looking to change all that. Not only is it a versatile printer but it’s also super sleek come hither and print with me good looks make it attractive and not just another piece of office equipment. The best part is that we were about to see if the good looks lived up to an even better all in one printer.
In the Box:
It may not be exciting to the average person but to me packaging is as exciting as whats in the box – because it makes you want to open the box. Upon opening the Artisan 800 box the first item that is revealed is another box, an Accessory Kit that holds the installation CD, a printable CD-R, 6 ink cartridges, and an extra bonus black cartridge too. An ethernet cable and power cable are also included along with some sample pieces of 4×6 photo paper. Once you remove the box that incorporates the accessories for the machine, you will find tucked in the box quite nicely, the Artisan 800 – easily accessible and nestled in between styrofoam. This set-up makes it easier to grab. The styrofoam sheet it’s wrapped in has a handle to easily grab it out of the box. Finally in front of me began the long arduous process of taking off stickers and wrapping etc…
The process of removing the blue tape and clear wrap can be a pain but I’m used to it especially with printers. Don’t leave any stone unturned when removing the blue stickers. Be sure to lift up every lid, flap, tray and crevice to make sure you don’t leave any behind. If you do, you may be greeted with an error message later on while trying to print. Once I cleared everything of film I started placing the 6 ink cartridges into its each designated slot. Again make sure to rip off any additional stickers or tabs but be careful not to get ink on your fingers. I first installed the printer on my PC running Vista as a local printer via USB not through the network. If you want to do an installation this way you will have to purchase a USB cable as it is not included. As a rule of thumb never plug in the USB cable while the printer is powered on to your computer. A printer installation just never runs smoothly when you jump the gun no matter how plug and play it is. So I popped in the disk and the lengthy installation process began. It picked up the printer in a timely manner via USB. Then it preceded to install the software for the unit, which is ArcSoft the same software company that provided the video and picture software for the Kodak Zi6. Not only will the software work with PC but with the Mac as well.
Once I finished installing the printer on the PC I then attempted to install it on my iMac as a network printer. It installed flawlessly as it did on the PC. However I do suggest you attempt to do it with someone who is a bit tech savvy. It’s not difficult by any means if you follow the on screen prompts and screens, but if you miss a step and are not sure what to do next it may be good to have moral support to help you out. In the end the Artisan 800 was picked up right away by my iMac and with all the same software options allotted to me on the PC install. This was certainly a nice change of pace because usually Mac users don’t get the same software options as their PC counterparts when purchasing a peripheral. The best part was that I was able to print from both a Mac and PC on the same network without ANY problems – on the first try, which is truly a miracle in itself.
The Epson Artisan 800 is not only meant to look stylish but it certainly works well too.
The standout feature is the color touchscreen interface. By the touch of a button on the touchscreen panel you can make a copy, scan, fax, or print to CD. You can also import images from the memory card slots. The touchscreen functionality is fluid and doesn’t lag at all. It is also very clear and easy on the eyes. I dare say it works almost as good as an iPhone touchscreen… The touchscreen panel is also angle adjustable which is great for having flexibility for putting the printer anywhere in your home or office and still be able to operate it. The one thing that is a bit tricky is when you do adjust it upwards, which means basically you lift the panel with your hand. You then have to press the ‘Unlock button’ to make the panel go back down again. Don’t forcefully push the panel back down with your hands, even if by accident as you will hear a terrible plastic cracking noise which could lead you to breaking the panel off the printer altogether.When you are ready to operate the touchscreen panel and press the touchscreen’s buttons, there is a small ‘ding’-like noise heard to acknowledge the action.
So it has got a nifty touchscreen but can it do what it was meant too? – Like print?! Can it ever! I printed first on Epson Premium Photo Paper Glossy and it was gorgeous!! I choose a photo of roses that was bright and had deep colors to really bring out what this printer was made to do. The high-definition Claria ink not only made the images vibrant but it almost felt like the image on the page was real. It dried instantly and left no smudges either. Next I printed on Epson Premium Bright White Paper which would be typical paper used in any household. It printed the same image again in outstanding quality. The paper absorbed a bit more of the ink leaving it a tad soggy but it did dry rather quickly and the paper was only slightly wrinkled afterwards. However that wouldn’t be an issue for most, since on that type of paper only text should only be printed and serious images should be reserved to print onto photo paper. Finally I attempted to print on Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte and it too printed excellently and without issue. I was blown away by not only the quality but also the speed of which everything printed. Epson claims photos print in as fast as 10 seconds and boy did it ever. Scanning was also very impressive, if you browse the gallery of images, I scanned in a EW magazine and the image that came through on the computer was as good as the original media that was scanned. It was just amazing – Such detail in less than a minute. So often manufacturers fall short on their speed promises, it was nice to see that Epson is true to what they advertise.
Another nice touch is that pictures can bleed off the page, meaning that you can produce borderless prints or stationary. There are no margins to cramp your style in creating those type of documents. The next exciting feature is the ability to print to CD and DVDs. On the front of the machine is a button to activate the tray. No more sticking CDs into weird plastic contraptions and then inserting it weirdly onto your printer tray. By the push of a button a CD printing tray ejects and then you can just insert the disk to be printed. It’s that easy! I printed an image from my SD Card onto the CD and the end results were terrific. You have a choice of several different patterns to print on your disk. So you can make a unique design all from the touchscreen interface of the printer.
The best part, regardless of how the print quality was, is the ease of printing as a local printer or as a network printer. On my PC, I set it up as a local printer without any hassle it printed within seconds. Whether it was a picture or a just a letter. The only thing I needed to set was the paper quality and it printed immediately without issue. After setting up the Artisan 800 as a network printer on my iMac, it was the same results. I also was able to print through Wi-Fi quickly and efficiently. The iMac also had no issues printing, it was fast and painless.
I was very impressed with the software bundle included because not only did it work with PC but with Mac as well. Most printer software would allow the drivers accessible to both formats but not the actual printer software. However that was not the case with the Artisan 800, these programs included ABBYT FineReader 6.0 Sprint which is a great ocr program, ArcSoft Connect and Print Creations, and some Epson dedicated software for the Scanner and CD Printer. Out of all the included software, probably the ArcSoft print creations will get the most use as it lets you create photo calendars, greeting cards, etc…a great tool for birthday parties or for kids to get creative.
The Epson Artisan 800 is everything you would want in a printer. It’s is not only great looking but it works well too. It sports an innovative touchscreen interface that is easy to use and look at it – it’s not at all frustrating to use by having to ‘touch’ things more than once. Printing with the Artisan 800 is a breeze as well as the setup. The software installation process on both the Mac and PC is a bit lengthy but it does include a lot of software options that other companies don’t include. The only draw back of the Artisan 800 I would say is the paper-tray. The overall quality of the tray seemed flimsy and it doesn’t hold that much paper. You can practically fit any type of media or size of paper in the tray or feeder on top. But it can get a bit frustrating having to constantly put more paper in the tray to print a big job. But in the grand scheme of things it’s a bit minutia to the overall quality of this feature packed printer. The Epson Artisan 800 retails for $299.99 which is a reasonable price for a such a great printer.
The Good: Great design with practical touschreen interface. Well rounded feature set. Quality and speedy prints. Wireless printing from Macs and PCs on the same network was a breeze. Software is included with full programs that worked for both PC and Mac.
The Bad: Flimsy paper-tray and lengthy software install.