Aimed squarely at home and light-duty home office use, the Epson Artisan 835 ($299.99 direct) is a wonderful fit for either role alone or even for both, in the double function of home and home-office multi-function printer (MFP). In the majority of ways, it carries on in the tradition of the Epson Artisan 810 ($299.99 direct, 4 stars) that it will be replacing in Epson’s line as the 810 is phased out. However, while the 810 leans toward a aim on home utilize, the 835 is more evenly appropriate for each roles, thanks to increased text excellent.
Among the Artisan 835’s more office-centric characteristics is its 30-page automatic document feeder (ADF), which can make it effortless to print, scan, copy, and fax multi-page documents as well as legal-sizes pages that is not going to fit on the flatbed. In addition, it can connect by both Ethernet and WiFi for quick sharing; print, scan, and fax, even above a multi-level; work as a standalone copier and fax machine, and scan to e-mail, utilizing your PC’s e-mail program and adding the scan as an addition.
Photo-centric features include the capability to print directly from PictBridge cameras as well as from memory space cards and USB memory keys, using a 3.5-inch color LCD to let you preview photos before printing. Other features meant mainly for household work with are the effectiveness to print directly on printable discs, and a choice of stored templates in the printer for graph paper, notebook paper and additional useful output. The 835 can also turn scanned photos, as well as photo files on a memory key or USB key, into coloring book pages-a nice extra if you have young children.
The 7.8-inch touch screen on the front panel is basically unchanged right from the one on the 810 but however worth mention as a crowning touch. Not only is it successfully attractive, but the menus are notably quick to use compared with almost all of the competition.
Printer Category : Ink Jet
Type : All-In-One
Color or Monochrome : 1-pass color
Ink Jet Type : Photo All-Purpose
Connection Type : USB, Ethernet, Wireless
Maximum Standard Paper Size: Legal
Direct Printing from Cameras : Yes
Standalone Copier and Fax : Copier, Fax
Print Duplexing : Yes
Setup and Speed
I installed the printer on a wired network, utilizing a Windows Vista system. In accordance to Epson, the printer also ships having a full set of drivers and software for Vista x64, both the 32- and 64-bit version of Windows 7 and XP, and Mac OS X 10.4 through 10.6.
Setup on a wired network is standard fare. First set the 7.8- by 18.3- by 18-inch (HWD) printer in place and remove the packing materials. Next, load paper, plug the printer in, turn it on, and install the six ink cartridges (for cyan, yellow, magenta, black, light cyan, and light magenta inks). Finally, you can connect the cable and run the automated setup routine from disc. Note too that you don’t have to connect the printer by USB cable to set up a WiFi connection. However, Epson says you can connect by USB cable first for Windows Vista and Windows 7 if you like, for automatic WiFi set up.
Speed is one of the 835’s strong points. I timed it on our business software suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software), at a total of 7 minutes 57 seconds, essentially a tie with the 810, both for the overall time and for each individual test. As a point of comparison, the similarly priced Editors’ Choice Canon Pixma MG8120 Wireless Photo All-In-One Printer ($299 direct, 4 stars) is significantly slower, at 11:43. Photo speed is also essentially the same for the 835 as for the 810, at 57 seconds for a 4 by 6 and 2:04 for an 8 by 10 on our tests.
The Artisan 835’s output high quality is just a touch below par for an ink jet, with typical text and graphics quality, but slightly below-par photo quality. The good news, however, is that the photos aren’t really as bad as the overall description can make it sound.
In many ways the photos are better than you would expect from your local drugstore, with fantastic scores for most of the issues we look at in our evaluation. But I also saw aliasing, in the form of staircase steps visible to the naked eye, in the edges of bicycle wheel spokes at some angles. The good news is that thin, straight diagonal lines don’t show up in the vast majority of photos, so this won’t usually be an issue. In most cases, the output in our tests qualified as true photo quality, but you can’t count on it in every case. Note too that I saw a visible tint in a monochrome photo, which is a fairly common issue for inkjets.
Text is good adequate for most casual business use, with more than half of the fonts in our text test qualifying as both highly readable and well formed at 6 points. However the text also had a slightly grayish look, which could make long documents difficult to read. Overall, the text is high adequate quality for school, internal business use like memos, or most communication. However, I wouldn’t use it for, say, a report or a business letter that needed to convey a sense of professionalism and trust.
The graphics quality is on the low end of what counts as typical for an inkjet. I saw some annoyingly obvious banding in some graphics in default mode, but no banding at all in high quality mode. I also saw a slight tendency to lose thin lines, but less so than with many printers. In general, the graphics quality is good enough for most home and business use, including PowerPoint handouts. You may need to invest in heavy weight paper, however. The full page graphics in our tests tended to add a curl to the inexpensive paper we use.
One of the key issues that limits the Artisan 835 to light-duty printing is the 120-sheet input capability. If your combined have to have for printing, copying, and incoming faxes comes out to more than about 25 sheets a day, you’ll likely find that adding paper turns into an annoying chore. On the plus side, however, the printer contains a duplexer for printing on both sides of the page. It also lets you switch between printing documents and photos without having to change paper, thanks to a photo tray that can hold up to 20 sheets of 4-by-6 or 5-by-7 photo paper.
Epson’s warranty counts as one more small plus, with Epson saying that if you need service, it will send a alternative printer along with a return shipping label and will pay for the shipping in both directions. Also note that if you register the printer, Epson will give you lifetime toll-free technical support.
In the end, if you’re looking for a home MFP, the Artisan 835 is no match for, say, the MG8120, which is focused on printing high-quality photos. And if you need high quality text for professional looking business output, you can do better with any laser. However, the 835’s particular balance of speed, output quality, and office-centric features is well chosen for its intended purpose. And if what you need is an MFP for your home and for light-duty home office use, it may well be particularly the printer you need.