All the images on the previous page were printed on 6×4 Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper using the Cassette 1 tray. The printer performed faultlessly, press the print button and the motorised control panel lifts up and media catcher tray appears from within. The media tray does not go in by itself you have to push it in, which is not a problem, but the resistance on the tray is similar to manually pushing in a CD/DVD tray on your HiFi, in other words there is enough resistance to make you wonder if you’re doing something wrong. Feedback has been given to Epson on this and they assured me that this is normal. Whilst still on this matter, the media catcher tray obscures both the Cassette trays, you have to push it back in to load more media.
A photo, heavy media rear fee tray is located at the rear of the printer, this allows you to load single sheets of heavier photo paper. The paper guide is very smooth although the rear support arm is very flimsy.
The overall construction of the XP-850 is of a very high standard, Epson have not made any economy on the materials used. The media trays (cassettes) are well thought out, paper is easy to load and the size adjustment grips are smooth in operation. The CD/DVD holder is now a removable tray which is stored at the base of the printer. This has to be pulled out and placed in the CD/DVD printing slot. The printer comes complete with Epson Print CD which is a utility application for designing CD/DVD discs and jacket cases. There are some background images and pre-designed templates for both discs and jackets included which can be easily adapted to your own custom design. This application may be basic but has sufficient features for producing professional looking discs. Once you have put together a design then select Print, you will be prompted to place the tray in the printer (with an inkjet printable CD/DVD loaded) and align the arrows on the tray with those on the printer. Press the Start button and off it goes. The printer produced well aligned discs each time, I also tried to fool the printer by not correctly aligning the arrows, but the printer corrected my deliberate mistake. The CD/DVD printing is an impressive feature on the printer, I use this regularly on my older PX720WD, but having tried the new tray on the XP-850 I might be asking Santa for one.
The 8.8cm touch screen panel has a clear display and is very responsive. On first switch on you are prompted to enter all details such as language, country, date, time etc. no problem. However, when turning the printer on again for subsequent use you are prompted to re-enter this information again or skip this.
I presume the printer is designed to be left in the stand-by mode rather that switching the power off each time. We are always being encouraged to turn appliances off to save energy, I am surprised that Epson have not incorporated an internal battery to save the settings. There are plenty of menu options available for limited image editing, copying, printing and scanning.
I wanted to try out some of the XP-850 More Functions settings which includes; Copy/Restore Photos, Photo Layout Sheet, Print Ruled Papers, Greeting Card and Colouring Book.
To produce a greeting card you must first insert a memory card containing images, select an image and press the on screen Proceed button. You are now prompted to enter the options for paper and media type etc., there is only choice for paper size (6×4). Press Proceed when done.
Make sure you have some A4 plain paper loaded into Cassette 2, the photograph is read and a template is generated onto plain paper.
Now write your greetings message on the template, select a text style (3D or 2D) and a graphical effect. When completed place the template on the scanner and the printer will print your card incorporating your personal message. This feature works OK but is limited, you haven’t got a choice of fonts or colours, in short you would get a better result if you added text on a photo in your image editing software. I was expecting a traditional style greeting card on a full A4 sheet that could be folded for an inside message etc. I also tried the Colouring Book option. !Here is the result of the above test.
Of course the results will vary depending on the image that is being used, I don’d think Sue will be too happy with her Colouring Book image, well at least it gave the kids a good laugh.