There’s always been a category of high-quality A3+ inkjet photo printers, but there have never been many products within that category to choose from. Epson’s latest is the smallest and neatest we’ve seen to date – about 10cm (4in) wider than the A4 XP-760. Read our Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Review.
Epson has managed that partly by arranging the ink cartridges front to back instead of left to right. Beyond cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), Epson’s Claria system uses a grey ink (for finer shading in photos) and a red (which increases the range of colours that can be reproduced).
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An effective, compact and affordable photo printer
This is a printer for photo enthusiasts, and as such it's very effective, compact and relatively affordable. You can't do better in this price bracket
Best Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 prices ?
5670x1440dpi maximum print resolution • 9.2ppm quoted speed (A4 mono) • 9ppm quoted speed (A4 colour) • USB • Ethernet • 802.1ln Wi-Fi • 159x479x370mm (HxWxD) • 8.5kg • One-year warranty
It’s an unusual setup, but it works. On photo paper, which you’ll want to use most of the time with a printer like this, we achieved fantastic results that were crisply detailed (assuming your images have enough resolution – you’ll need at least 12 megapixels for A3) without looking artificially enhanced.
Our first black-and-white photo came out slightly pink, but then we saw there was a black-and-white mode in the Windows driver, and using this we got another excellent print with lots of dynamic range.
In short, it does what it says on the tin. However, it doesn’t say anything on the tin about how long you’re going to have to wait for your photo prints or how much they’ll cost. If you buy Epson’s XL cartridges, a single A4 colour page will use 13p of ink. An A3 page filled with a colour photo will cost several times that amount.
A borderless glossy A4 photo took just over 3 1/2 minutes to print, and A3 five minutes 46 seconds, which sounds slow but is about as fast as you’ll get without spending a lot more. Basic plain-paper printing is not a strong point, but it works – hitting a reasonable 9.3 pages per minute for plain text. Duplex (double-sided) A4 printing is supported. There’s no memory card slot to print pics direct from your camera, but you’ll want to inspect and tweak them on your PC first anyway.
A flat rear feed ensures thicker material won’t jam, although no maximum weight is quoted. Wi-Fi is built in, with the usual online storage and mobile features. You can print directly onto CDs and DVDs; and there’s a colour screen to work it all, though you have to press buttons rather than use a touchscreen.
Canon Pixma iP8750
This ageing model is cheaper to buy and run, but to match the XP- 15000’s photo quality you’d need to look at Canon’s Pro-100S
The XP-15000 is an ‘A3+’ printer. A3 is twice A4, or 420x297mm, which implies a carriage at least 297mm wide. The print head, mounted on a rail, travels across this to print one strip at a time, but in some printers it can’t deposit ink across the full width, instead leaving an unprinted gap at the edges. Like most modem inkjets, the XP-15000 can print edge to edge. Epson says quality may be reduced within 40m (1.5in) of the top and bottom of the paper, but in most cases it won’t be noticeable.
As ‘A3+’ suggests, it can take slightly bigger paper as well. There’s no official definition of A3+, but Epson sells paper that’s 19xl3in (483x329mm) – big enough for a reasonably impressive poster.
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