Over the years, Canon’s five- and six-ink printers, such as the Pixma MG7120 and Pixma MG6320 (or this year’s Pixma MG7520 and MG6620, which we’re in the process of reviewing), have acquired a well-earned reputation for high-quality output—especially for printing photos. Perhaps not as well-known for their photo output, but arguably as good at printing images and documents, are Epson’s midrange and top-of-the line Small-in-One models. Two that excel are the six-ink Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One, and the subject of this review, the five-ink, $199.99-MSRP Expression Premium XP-820 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer. (Now there’sa mouthful.)
The Expression Premium XP-820 is the third in its lineage, after the Expression Premium XP-800 we reviewed back in November 2012, and the XP-810 we looked at late last year. Apart from some feature updates and add-ons, primarily in the areas of mobile and cloud printing, the XP-810 was much like the XP-800, and in turn, this year’s XP-820 looks and prints much like its predecessors. To our eyes, the biggest difference from year to year has been pricing.
With an MSRP of $229.99, the XP-810, for instance, was about $50 cheaper than the XP-800, and this year’s XP-820, at $199.99 list, is $30 lower still. On top of that, it was selling, on average, for much less—$130 to $150 street price—from several resellers when we wrote this. Typically, price reductions like these suggest that the printer might not have been selling well enough at the earlier pricing. If that’s true, that’s a shame, because all three are (or were) very good printers.
It’s probably not just the purchase price holding this printer back, though. Like the XP-800 and XP-810 before it, as well as most of Epson’s other Small-in-One models, the XP-820 is expensive to maintain, in terms of its cost per page (CPP). Most other photo printers are, too. Canon’s closest equivalent printer, the $149.99-list, five-ink Pixma MG6620, delivers a slightly lower CPP when printing in color. But the XP-820 excels in certain other areas, such as by providing an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning, copying, and faxing double-sided originals.
While the Pixma MG6620 does have a scanner for making copies (or for straight-up scanning to your computer or to a memory device), it has no ADF, which makes processing multipage documents, especially dual-sided multipage documents, much more tedious and time-consuming. In that regard (as well as for its support for a wider range of flash-memory cards and devices), the XP-820 is a better choice.
As we said about 2013’s Expression Premium XP-810, the XP-820 is compact and attractive; it prints well (especially for photographs); and it comes loaded with deep features for PC-free, cloud, and mobile printing. Together, that makes it a great match for light-printing small and home offices that need to print often from smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It works for us as a photo printer, too, but despite all of the office-friendly features, its CPPs are too high for office environments that print or copy more than a couple of hundred pages each month.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.