Printer Review: Epson Artisan 800

At the $300 price point, the Epson Artisan 800 is a very nice all-in-one (AIO) printer. For most small office/home office users (SoHo’s), it could easily meet their needs. It is very small (18.4″ x 23.0″ x 7.8″) compared to most of the printers in this price range and offers both wireless as well as wired networking.

Next, it has an amazing 7″ touch screen for easy operation of the AIO. This is probably the most impressive feature of the printer and definitely adds to the sexiness factor. Another bonus is that the printer comes with an extra black cartridge. This was a pleasant surprise during the out-of-box-experience.

The Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) holds up to 30 pages, although it does not support duplex copying or scanning. If you are not copying or scanning two-sided documents, then this should not be an issue for you. For most folks, that will probably be the case.

In order to utilize two-sided printing, you must purchase the duplexer accessory, which is an additional $30. Further, this duplexer is not available at any online or retail establishments, it is only at the online Epson store. It seems odd that Epson requires you to purchase a peripheral for a peripheral.

The Artisan 800 build quality is good. The overall unit feels solid, although the ADF and print trays all feel a little flimsy. One of the special features of the Artisan 800 is that it can print directly to printable CD/DVDs. The printer even comes with a specialized tray for this feature.

In order to print documents, the primary print tray must always be extended. Why is this item noteworthy? As a network printer, it could easily live in an unreachable place. Users of the printer might not know if the print tray is extended and thus any printing they perform could cause a paper jam (if the tray is not extended).

Faxing with the Epson is relatively straightforward. Insert your document into the ADF, utilize the touch screen to specify the destination and send it. The Artisan 800 can store up to 60 speed dials and has a 180 page memory for previously receive faxes, making it easy to reprint them.

One annoying problem with the Artisan 800 is that you can only network scan via the Mac, and not via the printer itself. Essentially, network scans are a two step process:

  1. Go to the printer and add documents you want to scan to the ADF.
  2. Go to the computer and run the software for scanning.

This seems counter-intuitive. If you want to scan something and send it to your Mac, you should be able to do it from the printer. Note, this functionality does work if you connect the Artisan 800 directly to your Mac via USB.

The Artisan 800 print quality for standard text documents is good. I noticed some slight bleeding with smaller font sizes (6-8pt), although point sizes above were laser quality. I did not print photos, although the demos I have seen look quite good.

One other item that merits attention is that the Artisan 800 is not a quiet printer. It makes quite a thunk when it warms up. Something else to consider in your purchase decision.

The Epson software is relatively solid and makes setting up the printer easy, even over the network. Epson includes software for OCR scanning as well printing to CDs. This is a nice touch.

Finally, I ran into some print setting issues once I installed the duplexer, which were thankfully resolved once I contacted customer support. Speaking of support, Epson’s support is good in that they generally reply within 24-36 hours with respectable answers.

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of this printer includes the following:

Capital costs

  • Epson Artisan 800: $299 (MSRP)
  • Duplexer Accessory: $30 (Optional)

Annuities

  • Replacement Inks: $102.54 (6 x $17.09 high-capacity) or $69.29 (5 x 10.44 low capacity + 1 high capacity black)

The high capacity inks can print approximately 855 pages before replacement, while the standard capacity can print about 500 pages. If you print a ream a month, expect that you will be spending about $70 (average) with low capacity inks. If you use high-capacity inks, you will spend about $51 every month (average). Granted, this is just printing/copying regular paper. Your mileage may vary if you print photos and other types of content. For more information, Epson has documentation about their Ink Cartridge Yields.

Please note that as with most Epson printers, if you run out of any color ink cartridge, you cannot opt to print in black & white. You must replace that empty cartridge and then you can print in black & white (or color again if you so choose). Further, it appears you can only currently purchase the ink cartridges from either Epson directly or Amazon.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a new All-in-one printer, then you should consider this new contender from Epson. The Artisan 800 is a very solid device with a rich feature set. Lastly, the unit does have some small nits, and please be mindful of the build quality.

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