Review: Epson Artisan 800 Printer

By Daniel Casciato

December 10, 2008

The Wi-Fi-enabled Epson Artisan 800 ($299) delivers excellent photos and prints documents quickly. What sold us, though, was its Wi-Fi capability.

Review: Epson Artisan 800
www.epson.com
MSRP:
$299.99
Pros: Wi-Fi capability; sleek design; easy to set up and use; smart touch panel; 2-year warranty and lifetime telephone support; fast print speed; excellent photo quality printing
Cons: Thin paper trays; bulky

The Epson Artisan 800 ($299.99) is a multifunctional printer that prints, scans, copies, and faxes. It features a large LCD screen, direct to CD/DVD printing, automatic document feeder, and hi-definition photos. It also supports Wi-Fi scanning and printing, and lets users share the printer among multiple computers. With our desk already cluttered with dozens of cables, it was nice to use only the power cord with this printer. However, before we discuss the Artisan 800's Wi-Fi capabilities, let's examine some of the other features.

Design

The Artisan has a stylish, chic black design, which we really liked. Not only did it add to the décor of our workspace, but it was a nice complement to our Dell Vostro 1510. However, there were two features of the design that we hope will be improved upon in the printer's next generation. Both the paper tray guide, which was thin and delicate, and the two paper trays were flimsy. They held up fine during our one week of testing, but left us with doubts about whether they could withstand the wear and tear of daily use for long, particularly in a busy office.

Having two trays is a design bonus, however, because it eliminates the need to switch back and forth between plain and photo paper. The main tray can hold up to 120 sheets of letter-sized, A4, or 8" x 10" paper. Extend the tray, and it can hold up to 50 sheets of legal-sized paper. The photo tray, which rests on top of the main tray, can hold up to 20 sheets of 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" photo paper. 

We experienced no paper jams after printing, scanning, and copying over 100 sheets of plain and photo paper. We also liked that the Artisan is built with two-sided printing capability, but for that you need to purchase the optional duplexer ($29.99 MSRP). It's a wonderful feature to have, but with so many people environmentally conscious these days, it should come standard.

One final note about the design: the printer is a bit wider and heavier (18.4" x 15.2" x 7.8"; 23.8 lbs.) than other multifunctional printers we have tried.

LCD display

The Artisan has a large 7.8" front touch panel with tilt, and a 3.5" LCD screen. The large display made it easy for us to copy, enlarge, rotate, crop, and print photos without using our laptop. We tested this by using our camera's memory card and a USB drive, and experienced no problems.

Print speed

This was one of the fastest multifunctional printers we have ever used. It prints black and color text up to 38 pages per minute; 4" x 6" photos in as fast as ten seconds; and 8" x 10" photos in about 50 seconds.

Automatic document feeder

Up to 30 letter-sized or A4 sheets, or ten legal-sized sheets of paper, can be used in the Artisan's Automatic Document Feeder. Again, we experienced no problems during our testing phase.

Scanning/copying

The Artisan 800 features 4800 dpi resolution for high-quality scanning of images and documents. It only supports the "pull scanning" method, if you want to scan documents wirelessly. In order to scan over your WLAN, you must use the Epson Scan application, which comes with the unit. If you attempt to "push scan"—by selecting "scan" from the LCD display on the unit—you'll receive a message that states "scanning is unavailable over a network" and you will be prompted to plug in a USB cable.  

The Artisan 800 also offers standalone, one-touch color, and black-and-white copying, and in our tests, it always produced clean, crisp copies for us.

 EpsonArtison800.jpg

Photo printing

As mentioned earlier, the touch panel display lets users print photos directly from its built-in media card reader or a USB drive. Photo printing features include: Auto Photo Correction, Red-Eye Removal, and Photo Restoration. Through this last feature, you could restore color to old and faded photos right from the touch panel display.

For the creative types, you can convert your photos or drawings into personalized coloring book pages. You can choose a photo, print it, scan it, and then print out a coloring book page. We found this to be a pretty cool feature. Some of the other bells and whistles on the Artisan include:

  • Creating personal notepaper with your photo as the background
  • Printing photo layouts with various-sized photos on a single sheet of paper
  • Printing college-ruled, wide-ruled, and graph school paper
  • Printing and copying jewel case inserts or designs directly onto ink jet printable CDs and DVDs

Ink

The printer holds six cartridges of Epson's Claria Dye-based Hi-Definition Ink, which Epson claims to be smudge, scratch, water, and fade resistant. It comes in six colors: Black, Magenta, Yellow, Cyan, Light Magenta, and Light Cyan. Each cartridge sells for about $15.99. One aspect of the ink cartridges that we like is that if your black ink is low, the Artisan combines the other color inks to produce black to prolong the life of your black ink printing.

Wi-Fi capability

The Artisan 800 has built-in 802.11b/g, and is, of course, compatible with 802.11n. You can also use a standard Ethernet cable for wired networking. An optional Bluetooth print adapter is available if you want to print from your cell phone or other mobile device.

The set-up process was simple and fast. It took us under ten minutes to install and get the printer connected to our network. The first thing we needed to do to configure the network connection was to connect the Ethernet cable to the LAN port on our printer. This is only a temporary connection. We were prompted to remove the Ethernet cable when the installation was complete. Next, we connected the other end of the Ethernet cable to a LAN port on our router.

The software installation was the next step. We did have to install a printer driver from the installation CD to our computer and any other computers that we wanted to print from. After running through a series of eight steps, the installation was complete. When we received the "Network Connection Successful" screen, we disconnected the Ethernet cable from the printer and router and we were ready to go.

We located the printer about ten feet away in our office and it printed without a hitch. We also located the printer outside the office, about 75 feet away, and again, it printed fine. It's a fantastic feature and we hope more printers add this capability in their next generations, as well.

Our verdict

The Artisan 800 is a nice, reliable printer. It delivers excellent photos and prints documents at a very fast speed. It also comes with an Epson two-year warranty and lifetime telephone support. What sold us, though, is its Wi-Fi capability. The Epson Artisan 800 is definitely a good buy for the price.

[Editor's note: In our original version of this review, we indicated that wireless scanning was unavailable. This was incorrect and we regret the error.]

Daniel Casciato is a full-time freelance writer from Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to writing for Wi-FiPlanet, he writes health, legal, real estate, and technology-related articles for trade and consumer magazines and has his own copywriting business. For more information, visit www.danielcasciato.com



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