Epson XP 640 is a ‘small in one’ multifunction printers, a good choice for homes where space is tight, but previous models in the range have tended to be conventional four-color printers. As the name implies, the new Premium model is more advanced and uses five inks to produce high-quality photo prints.
Epson XP 640 Specifications
A4 color inkjet printer with 5760x1440dpi resolution; 2400x1200dpi scanner/copier; paper tray 1.100 sheets A4; paper tray 2,20 sheets photo paper USB. Wi-Fi, Apple AirPrint Google Cloud Print; 130x385x335mm; 6.7kg
Epson XP 640 Design
The Epson XP 640 uses five separate ink cartridges, with the traditional cyan, magenta yellow and black inks complemented by a special ‘photoblack’ ink that helps to improve contrast and color in photo prints. However, it maintains the compact dimensions of its predecessors, measuring just 358x335x130mm. It doesn’t skimp on features though, including a 1200x2400dpi A4 scanner and copier, USB and Wi-Fi connectivity with Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices, and Google Cloud Print and Epson’s own Connect app for other mobile devices.
With photo printing in mind, the Epson XP 640 includes two separate paper trays, with the main paper tray holding 100 sheets of standard A4 paper, while the second tray holds 20 sheets of photo paper.
The printer also includes a USB interface and memory card slot for quickly printing photos from a camera or storage device.
The Epson XP 640 also supports duplex (two-sided) printing, so it’ll certainly be versatile enough for most home users. We did have a couple of minor complaints, though. The paper trays feel light and flimsy and the initial setup is a bit confusing. The printed manual instructs you to start by loading paper into the upper (photo) tray, while the installer program requires you to start by loading the lower (plain paper) tray so you can print out some test pages in order to calibrate the print head properly.
Epson XP 640 Performance
Those aren’t major weaknesses, though, and the Epson XP 640 does deliver when it comes to print quality. Its 5760x1440dpi resolution ensures that text output is close to laser quality. And, of course, the five-ink system ensures very crisp, colorful photos and color graphics.
It’s not really fast enough for business use (and it’s not intended for this), but print speeds of around 12 pages per minute (ppm) for plain text, and 8ppm for mixed text and graphics, should be perfectly adequate for most routine printing at home.
Photo printing was a little sluggish, though. Epson quotes a speed of 20 seconds for 6x4in postcard print, but our test prints took 45 seconds when using the ‘standard quality’ settings, and 75 seconds for ‘high quality’. Even so, keen photographers won’t mind waiting a few seconds longer in order to get this sort of quality.
Epson XP 640 Running costs
Running costs are a bit of a mixed bag, though, even if you use Epson’s largest high-yield cartridges. A complete set of four XL-size photo inks comes to £ and should last for 650 pages, which works out at 9.7p per page.
That’s not bad, given that it includes the extra photo-black ink, but plain mono printing proves to be relatively expensive. The XL black cartridge costs £ , but only lasts for a more modest 530 pages, giving an above-average price of 3.4p per page for simple text documents. Fortunately, Epson does sell all five inks together as a ‘multi-pack’, so if you buy shop around, you should be able to get those costs down to around 3p for mono, and 9p for color.
Epson XP 640 Verdict
The strength of the Epson XP 640 is its five-ink printing system, which makes it a good choice for people who want to print high-quality photos on a regular basis. However, its running costs are a little higher than average.
The strength of the XP-640 is its five-ink printing system, which makes it a good choice for people who want to print high-quality photos on a regular basis. However, its running costs are a little higher than average.