Well here we have it I finally get a chance to take a look at one of Epson’s latest all in ones the Artisan 800. Before I started this Review I wasn’t sure how interesting of a Review it would be. The last printer I used was an Epson 777 I think it was and the only thing it did was print. Years have passed since I had that printer and today for the same money a good printer would have cost years ago you get the printer the scanner the fax and the copier all rolled into one.
The first thing I was impressed with was the weight of the Artisan 800. Most of these all in ones you buy are not very heavy because of how cheaply made they are but this one surprised me. When I finally got it unboxed and had it on the table I was really impressed with the fit and finish. Its nice black glossy finish gives it a rather sleek look that not many other all in ones have.
After I got the Artisan 800 on the table the next thing to do was to power it up and see what all I could do with it, without having it connected to a computer. When you turn the Artisan 800 on you are greeted with the a blue light and a 7.8 inch touch panel that has a 3.5 inch LCD in the center of it. The touch panel is clearly lit and navigating your way around the various menus via touch works really well. Also the whole 7.8 inch touch panel can be tilted all the way up and down and locked into position as the two pictures below will show.
Once I had the Artisan 800 up and running the first thing I did was to go grab a camera I had with some digital pictures on it and pop the sd card out and put that into the Artisan 800 and in no time I was browsing through all 200 images on the sd card. The one thing I really liked about the Artisan 800 was when you’re cycling through your pictures it does so in like a draft mode that looks like lower resolution and it does this to speed up the browsing of the photos. When you stop on a picture you can see it render the picture at a higher resolution.
Once you have the picture you want to print it’s just a few button presses away and the printing starts. You can do a whole host of things with the print such as adjust the brightness and contrast along with cropping and even using certain photo layouts. If you want to print the photo in black and white you have that option as well.
In the picture below you can see the flatbed scanner that the Artisan 800 has.
When it comes to scanning of images once again the Artisan 800 is not short on features. For example you can scan a document and then have that saved to a USB thumb drive or a cf card or a sd card. You can also have the scanned image either left as an image or scanned into a PDF file. The one thing that really impresses me about the Artisan 800 is how quickly and how quietly it scans things. I have this Artisan 800 sitting right beside me and yet I can hardly even tell its doing any scanning at all.
The quality of the prints the Artisan 800 can do is also really impressive. I had several pictures that were taken by a cannon a510 and also a Nikon d60 and the prints from both cameras looked very good. When I tested the photo copier function out the results were also really impressive. The photo copy I made only had a slight color difference over the original and it was very slight to say the least.
For those that need a fax the Artisan 800 also covers that area. If you want to fax a lot of documents you just load the document feeder on the top of the Artisan 800 and it will fax one sheet at a time. The document feeder can also be used for photo copying as well.
In the picture below you can see the document feeder on the top and the paper tray on the bottom that’s pulled out.
The other really cool feature about the Artisan 800 is the fact that it can also print on CD’s. There is a button on the front of the unit and when you hit that a tray will eject out and you put your CD/DVD on that tray and it will print whatever image you have onto the CD/DVD. It should be noted that you do need Inkjet printable CD’s or DVD’s to use this feature.
The next mission I was on was to finally move the Artisan 800 into the room where the computer was and see how well it worked hooked up to my computer. The first thing I did was to see how well the printer worked over a wireless internet connection and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. I have the printer connected to a D-link DGL-4500 wireless router and I haven’t seen any problems whatsoever with the Artisan 800.
The one thing that did sort of puzzle me was, if you wanted to use the Artisan 800 over a wireless connection you had to plug it into a router via a network cable to configure it. Once you plug the Artisan 800 into your router you then run this install software and providing you have your router setup properly it should only take a few minutes to get the Artisan 800 running smoothly via wireless. The Artisan 800 had no problems using WPA or WPA 2 encryption settings with a very long shared key.
I would have liked to have seen a way to configure the Artisan 800 for wireless without hooking it up to a wired network connection. It would have been nice for example if the Artisan 800 could read a text file off say a USB thumb drive and have that file contain all the necessary information to get the Artisan 800 working over a wireless connection.
The only thing that was sort of a letdown with the Artisan 800 was it has a feature where you put a document into the scanner and through using the touch interface you’re able to scan the document and have it go right to your PC. The one thing I couldn’t figure out was how to get this feature to work over the wireless connection. I tried everything and as it turns out this feature only works over USB. This sort of blows the whole wireless idea of out of the water. When you have an all in one like this and it does have wireless you expect all the features of the all in one to use that wireless connection. I was very surprised to see this printer have to use the USB for the scan to pc function. I’m amazed Epson never got this feature to work before releasing this otherwise very good all in one unit.
As for the software when you install everything that comes on the CD you have quite a few things you can use. There is the Arcsoft print creations software where you can make and print greeting cards and the like. You also get software to design and print CD and DVD labels should you want to do that.
For me in terms of software what I was most impressed with was the ABBYY finereader OCR (optical Character Recognition) software. The last time I used any sort of OCR software has to be 15 years ago at least and to say it was hit and miss back then was an understatement. When I loaded up ABBYY finereader I wasn’t expecting anything all that great but was blown away by how good the software was at grabbing the text off the page and doing so without a lot of errors. I tried several different pages including some small newspaper print and was really impressed at how good of a job the software did. Don’t get me wrong the software was not perfect but there were very few errors in pages I scanned.
The only other thing I think that might be a problem with this printer is the ink cartridges. When I was printing my pictures out I only printed maybe a dozen pictures and in so doing nearly emptied several of the cartridges. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the ink was dirt cheap but each cartridge cost about $16.00 Canadian to replace. When you consider the fact that this printer uses six cartridges you can see very quickly that the ink cost will be very high if you’re doing a lot of photo printing. The photo paper is also fairly expensive as well.
The other not so good thing is the paper tray seems really flimsy. I was amazed at how weak the plastic tabs felt that hold the paper in place. If you grabbed onto one of these moveable tabs and moved it the wrong way I don’t think it would take too much to break them off. The flimsy paper tray gives a fairly well built all in one a bit of a cheap feel to it and that’s too bad considering how well the rest of the unit is made.
In conclusion Ink and photo paper costs aside, I think the Artisan 800 is a very good all in one that has a lot of features and makes stunning prints when printing photographs. The ease of which you can get the Artisan 800 working on a wireless network is also very good. At the time of this Review you could purchase the Epson Artisan 800 for around $300.00 Canadian.
Below are a few more pictures of the Artisan 800 enjoy!
In the picture below you can see the Phone jacks for the fax and also the USB and Network Connections. Over to the right you can see the power cord connector.
In this next picture you can see the area under the flat bed scanner where you change the 6 ink cartridges.