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Epson's New Printer Provides Excellent Results

High Quality and Speedy Prints

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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Epson Artisan 837 All-in-One Inkjet Printer

Epson Artisan 837 All-in-One Inkjet Printer

Photo courtesy Epson
It's hard to find anything to complain about with the Epson Artisan 837 all-in-one color inkjet printer. It was easy to set up, it prints quickly, and printed results look uniformly excellent. Plus it offers a lot of features that make it useful for any home user as well as home or small office. If it has a weak point, it's that I find the paper output tray a bit on the flimsy side (so be sure to tuck it away when you're not using it lest you bump into it and break it), and that the on-screen instructions for printing on a CD or DVD weren't all that clear.

Speed

The Artisan 837 printed as fast as I expected it to, in line with similarly priced (and featured) all-in-one printers such as the HP Officejet Pro 8500A. The first page of a four-page Word document took only 12 seconds to come out (compared to the Officejet Pro, which took almost twice that time); and the total job was done in 34 seconds, in line with the Officejet Pro. Duplex printing (which is automatic, not a manual process) added about 25 seconds to the printing process. One thing I like about Epson is that when you switch to duplex mode, there's a popup message advising you to make a change to the ink density--a very easy process--so that the ink doesn't bleed through the page and make the reverse sides difficult to see. It would be nice if that process was a bit more automated; as it is, you have to take a guess at how much to change the density, and then reprint if your guess was off.

You'll get faster print speeds by switching to Draft mode--Epson promises 9.6 and 9.1 pages per minute monochrome and color, respectively. In fact the same print job took only 23 seconds in Draft mode, but of course the quality and clarity took a major hit, so this will only be for unimportant print jobs.

Larger jobs, such as a graphics-heavy PDF, didn't take more time per page than the Word document that was fairly light on graphics. Photos also print out very quickly, with a 4x6 taking only 29 seconds to print.

Quality

Epson Artisan 837 Color Inkjet Printer

Epson Artisan 837 Color Inkjet Printer

Photo courtesy Epson
The Epson Artisan 837, like its older and cheaper cousin the Artisan 810, really shines in terms of quality. The printer uses six inkjet cartridges which will, of course, cause some pain when it comes time to replace (a new set of high-capacity cartridges runs $79.99 on Epson's site). However, the upside is that colors (particularly in photo prints) are wonderfully rich and nuanced, with more crispness and depth than I've seen even in many dedicated photo printers. It's not just about photo printing, though. You'll see the same subtle changes in colors on graphics, though I'd suggest using a decent paper made for inkjet printers to avoid any bleed into the paper. Similarly, use good quality photo paper with any printer if you really want photos to look their best. It really does make a difference.

Bells and Whistles

The Artisan 837 comes equipped with pretty much all the extra features you could ask for, which is only fair when the printer costs nearly $300. First, it offers built-in wireless which was very easy to set up and get working. It found my wireless network quickly and connected on the first try after entering my password via the 7.8-inch touchscreen panel (almost three times the size of the HP Officejet Pro 8500A, though it doesn't offer Web access as the Officejet Pro does (and, to be fair, much of the 7.8 inches is used for function buttons, not the actual display). The panel tilts so it's easy to see from any position. I liked that there's a separate icon that opens and closes the CD / DVD printing tray which is not a separate piece of hardware as it is in some printers like the Canon Pixma MG6220.

It was a bit tricky to print on a CD, however. There was no easy way to move the photo around on the CD so that the final result was evident; rather, there was a confusing screen that asks for the dimensions of the CD, and those dimensions could be altered somewhat. So the final result was a bit off-center and a bit disappointing.

Other welcome features include a 30-page automatic document feeder, built-in duplex printing, and a range of connectivity, including Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Ethernet–10/100, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, and PictBridge. There's also support for multiple types of memory cards, and a USB port up front. Finally, there are plenty of fun print options, such as turning a photo into a coloring book and printing various kinds of ruled paper.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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