Epson offers a range of Expression Small-in-One models, but the $99.99-list Expression Home XP-420 Small-in-One Printer is one of the smallest. It’s the direct descendant of the XP-410 Small-in-One, itself one of the most compact entry-level inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers you could buy in its time. The thing is, despite the Small-in-One name, both of them are, for the most part, full-featured AIOs.
In this case, the XP-420 AIO can print, copy, and scan, but not fax; some much bigger AIO models don’t fax either, so that feature is not really a victim of this printer’s size. But perhaps the best news is that the XP-420 Small-in-One has been on the market a few months now, enough time for e-tailers to get their discounting hooks into it. When we wrote this at the tail end of August 2015, you could buy the Expression Home XP-420 from Epson (and many other online sellers) for $59.99, a full $40 less than the list price.
The Expression Home XP-420 is not the smallest Expression XP model Epson makes, but it’s close. The XP-300 series, which includes the XP-310 and its more recent replacement, the XP-320, are smaller still, but less capable in terms of volume and features than our XP-420 review unit.
As we’ve said about several other Small-in-Ones in previous reviews, you need to know these printers’ limitations. While these are capable compact printers, they have the same core issue as most competing models in this price range: a high per-page cost of operation, what we call the cost per page (CPP). And that relegates them to low-volume, occasional-use machines, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. If that’s the type of printer you need—one that sits around most of the time, waiting for you to use it—this one will fit the profile, and on the upside, $60 isn’t a lot to spend on it.
However, as you’ll see in the next section, the CPP is not the only thing about the XP-420 that makes it a low-volume model. The input and output trays are small and therefore hold only modest amounts of paper stock, and the scanner has no automatic document feeder (ADF) for processing multiple-page documents. You’ll have to place them onto the scanner’s platen glass manually, one at a time, and one side at a time.
As we said about the Expression Home XP-420’s predecessor, the XP-410, what this little AIO has going for it is excellent print quality and decent performance for the money. It’s hard to find much beyond that at so low a price. Granted, compared to the competition of its day, the Expression Home XP-410 was a little faster than the XP-420 is, but not by much.
What’s more interesting is how well the newer model holds up to its competitors, compared to the older one. It’s clear that Epson’s competitors haven’t been idle; two years after the introduction of the XP-410, the competition seems to have gotten stiffer. So while this is a surprisingly able printer for its price, the landscape has changed, which is likely also the reason we’ve seen the XP-420 discounted so far, so soon.
In any case, as we also said about the Expression Home XP-410, if a few hundred pages a month, at most, is all you need to print or copy, and you don’t do much multiple-page scanning, Epson’s XP-420 Small-in-One should get the job done.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper