This printer produces exhibition-quality prints just as stunning as Epson’s pro models, and it costs only one-tenth as much.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983

T e c h n o f i l e
Epson's new all-in-one sets new standard for print quality

Dec. 7, 2008

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2008, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2008, The Post-Standard

   Epson makes some of the best professional ink jet printers you can buy. Epson’s pro ink jets print big and wide, and they cost, as my mom used to say, a couple of arms and just as many legs.
   But after spending a few weeks with Epson’s latest consumer printer, I’m convinced somebody forgot to tell the company’s designers about those appendages. This printer produces exhibition-quality prints just as stunning as Epson’s pro models, and it costs only one-tenth as much.
   The printer is the Artisan 700, which uses Epson’s non-fading Claria inks. But the Artisan 700 isn’t just a printer. Built into the top is a high-resolution scanner that does a better job than any scanner I’ve ever used.
   Having a built-in scanner means this printer turns itself into a copier, too. It’s able to make copies of an 8X10 photo in less than a minute, and copying a written document takes just a few seconds.
   And, get this – the Artisan is a network printer. It has a built-in Ethernet connector as well as built-in wi-fi networking. You can put this printer-copier-scanner anywhere your wireless network can reach. You won’t need to drill holes in the walls for Ethernet cabling.
   An all-in-one like this should cost $250 even without built-in wi-fi networking. But some stores were selling the Artisan 700 for $189 in November, and Epson’s Web site (www.epson.com) even had a brief sale price of $149 when a rebate was figured in. Check local discount stores and online discounters such as www.Amazon.com and www.Buy.com for any current discounts.
   I compared the Artisan’s print quality with the quality I get from my large-format Epson 2000P, which I use when I make my exhibition prints. Prints from the Artisan 700 had more detail, especially in darker areas of my photographs. A major difference was obvious when I compared prints of my Vietnam black-and-white photos; the Artisan prints had richer blacks and a depth of tone that I was never able to achieve with my Epson 2000P.
   Like other Epson printers, the 700 has a special print-to-disk mode that can create colorful labels on printable (white) blank CDs and DVDs. That worked fine. It also can print directly from memory cards, using two card slots on the front.
   The scanner’s built-in (or optical) resolution is 2,400 dots per inch. Scans I made were sharper, with greater dynamic range (from dark to light) than the expensive Canon scanner I normally use. If you’re shopping for a scanner, buy the Artisan 700 and enjoy the bonus printer and copier.