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EPSON Stylus Photo R800 printer

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Day 1.

photo-i's first ever review featured the Epson Stylus Photo 2100/2200, now 18 months down the line I am pleased to bring you the first review of the eagerly awaited R800 printer. The Epson Stylus Photo R800 is an A4 printer using UltraChrome pigment inks. The print head delivers ink 1.5 picolitres droplets, an outstanding achievement. Epson has also improved the Gamut of the UltraChrome inks by adding Red and Blue, during the course of this review I will compare results from the R800 to those obtained with the 2100. From my first impressions this printer looks like it is going to set new standards for photo printing, lets see if the R800 lives up to expectations.

For those of you that are new to the photo-i site. All the tests are carried out in real time and I check the forum every 30 minutes (whilst I am working on the review). If there is anything you want me to check out, then use the forum and post your questions.

What will be in the box?

1. Epson Stylus Photo R800
2. Power cable
3. Eight inks Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, Blue. Matte Black, Photo Black and Gloss Optimizer
4. CD/DVD printing tray
5. Roll paper holders
6. 210mm Cardboard tube (for roll paper media)

Please note that the printer I am using for this review is not an off the shelf production model, the printer is a pre- production unit. The quick start guide, installation disks, sample paper pack or final packaging were not supplied.

The printer weighs in at a hefty 8.0kg (17.6lb) without inks.

The dimensions are more modest:

Width - 495mm (19.5 inches) - printing mode 495mm (19.5 inches)
Depth - 305mm (12.0 inches) - printing mode 644mm (25.6 inches)
Height - 193mm (7.6 inches) - printing mode 322mm (12.7 inches)

The R800 is well constructed with meticulous attention to detail throughout.


Before installing the drivers the inks must be installed. Plug the mains cable into the printer and press the power on button. The printer whirrs for about 20 seconds and then the print head moves into position ready for the inks to be fitted. The cover on the print head is made from heavy duty plastic and has a very positive lock.

Power up to fit ink cartridges

The Print head moves into position
Shake the ink cartridges
Follow the colour code for correct ink order, but watch out for the Photo & Matte Blacks

Fitting the inks is a straightforward task. As with the 2100 inks, each cartridge has to be shaken four or five times before fitting (32 to 40 shakes - great practice for learning the maraca). Make sure the Photo and Matte blacks are in the correct slots. Interestingly, the ink cartridges are almost identical in size to the 2100 UltraChrome inks, although the fittings are not the same. This would lead me to believe the same quantity of ink is in the A4 cartridge as in the 2100/2200 (A3), I will try to confirm the quantity of ink in each.

The full compliment of eight inks
2100 (left) and R800 (right) cartridges

Once the inks have been fitted, close the print head cover and press the flashing red ink button. The printer performs a ink charging routine with all sorts of mechanical noises and whirrs, this lasts for about two minutes. The noise is not excessive, unless you are doing this at The ink cartridges are partially used during the initial printer charging, as a consequence you are not going to get as many prints from the first set of inks as you are from subsequent inks. This will make it difficult for me to give you an accurate account of ink consumption. I will keep a tally of the amount of prints I can produce with the first set.

Yes, the cartridges have the IC chip. This ensures your printer head stays in top condition


October 28, 2006

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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