The market for all-in-one (AIO) inkjets really is a fickle place. A couple of years ago, several models from Kodak (and a few other manufacturers) suggested the end of a long-running trend: specifically, selling entry-level printers at rock-bottom prices, then compensating by charging exorbitantly for the ink. For a while there, we were seeing under-$150 printers with costs per page (CPPs) of about 3 cents for black-and-white pages and under 10 cents for color. It appeared that small and home offices were finally going to get a break.
Alas, here we are in mid-2013. Kodakâ€™s out of the printer picture, due to a recent bankruptcy. Dell and Lexmark have quit the inkjet-printer market altogether. And the survivors, notably HP, Canon, and Epson, are introducing some of the costliest-to-use entry-level AIOs weâ€™ve seen. Case in point is HPâ€™s recently debuted Envy 5530 e-All-in-One Printer. (We have a review of it in the works.) When you use the companyâ€™s standard-yield ink tanks, it costs over 9 cents per black-and-white page, and over 20 cents per for colorâ€”yikes!
That brings us to the subject of this review, Epsonâ€™s $99.99-list Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One Printerâ€”another entry-level AIO with, alas, astronomical per-page costs. Weâ€™ll discuss that issue in some detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section a little later in this review. But those costs, really, are the most important news here.
Why? No matter how strongÂ this printer’sÂ feature set, no matter how well it prints or how quickly, the fact that this AIO costs so much to use relegates it to an occasional-use machine. Prospective inkjet buyers who need to use their printer frequently would be better off paying moreâ€”perhaps as much as $100 moreâ€”to get a printer with a cheaper per-page cost of ink. Period.
That said, the XP-410Â doesÂ churn out fine-looking business documents and photographs, and it performed well on our print-speed benchmarks for a printer in this price range. True to its Small-in-One name, itâ€™s light and compact, which makes it easy to situate in even the most cramped home offices. And, despite somewhat flimsy-feeling input and output trays, it feels well-built.
Unlike a few other AIOs in this class, though, it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning and copying multipage documents, and it canâ€™t print two-sided pages without user interventionâ€”meaning that youâ€™ll have to turn the pages over yourself to print the other side (and pay attention to the document order). While neither of these missing features is standard fare on under-$100 machines, some modelsÂ doÂ provide them. Whether or not this is a deal-breaker depends on how you plan to use the printer. Having both features can save time and frustration if youâ€™ll use your printer for light business/home-office tasks. (And even if not, theyâ€™re nice to have, just in case.)
We recognize that many small and home offices print less and less all the time, relying on their printers as standby machines. From that point of view, the Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One works for usâ€”as an occasional-use AIO for printing or copying a handful of documents or photos each month. For heavier duty, though, you can and should do better.
See full review atÂ Computer Shopper.