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Whatever is Needed, the Expression Photo XP-8600 Small-in-One Printer Will Deliver

Updated on February 2, 2020

A Really Short History of Printers

Back in the day when personal printers were a big deal, the reason was price, price, price. A printer to use at home cost a lot because they were really being made to be used in offices, so the home consumer didn’t have the choice of getting value for the buck. Instead, the companies seemed more interested in selling the ink (the “milk”) than the cow (the printer). And even when printers started to drop in price — and we’re talking about going from $10,000.00 down to 5 or even 4 1/2 — black and white was the main course. But then the inkjet printer made its appearance and caused a sea change in printer-think: the inkjet could be physically smaller than the conventional printer of the time and the ink less costly than the replacement materials the convent also printer used. The inkjet was also easier to understand, and so perfectly suited for consumer (i.e., home use). A bit slow at the time, the inkjet could also do color at a reasonable price (the replaceable spectrum of inks combining together to make up colors) and so the printer was no longer confined to pie charts and graphs but reproductions of snapshots, etc.

Epson was a part of this colorful past and has continued to ride its printers into today. The Expression Photo XP-8600 Small-in-One Printer is the latest Epson color inkjet and, while filled with every possible enhancement the printing world can now offer, maintains the drive towards accessibility through a most reasonable retail price of $250.00. Leading with the price might seem unusual, but its worth keeping in mind as the long list of features now drive by.

What The Printer is Seen To Be

Starting with what you can see, the 8600 is a svelte black unit with a small footprint for its 15 lb. weight— it will easily fit on a tabletop or even the corner of a large-ish desk. As an all-in-one, some of the esthetics are dictated by function, and so the top hinges upward because of covering the scanner area below. The scanning area provides the usual indentations for varying paper sizes. As regards documents, top loading sheets can be dropped in and will be automatically pulled through and scanned (but there is no provision for faxing). And to just get technical for the moment, the scanning resolution tops off at 600 d.p.i, which is many times more than is needed for text and wholly adequate for prints, color or otherwise or slides. Moving towards the front, the power button sits by its lonesome at the left and the color LCD touchscreen at the center does the digital controlling — no knobs or buttons The panel is of a good size, being 4.1 inches, and so makes for easier viewing for older eyes. Avoiding glare on the screen is also done easily by tilting the entire panel holding the screen at an angle if needed. As part of the panel, various icons indicate status and connections of the printer.

What is At The Printer’s Bottom

The bottom front automatically flips down because paper needs somewhere to exit as well as somewhere for the unused paper to be stored (two paper cassettes make for lots of printing and up to legal size is possible). The other panel that needs to be opened is where the ink cartridges are stored and Epson stresses the use of theirs in order to provide the best results and keep the printer functioning at peak consistency. A total of 6 ink cartridges are used and the additional color mix now in effect provides for more vibrant color prints — looking closer to those produced by conventional photo shops than printer “attempts.” The cartridges are designed on a spring-held basis that lets you pop out the bad and replace with the good (the printer doing automatic on keeping the cartridges primed and ready to go when turned on). As is the case with all inkjets, ink maintenance on the part of the user is low, and the cartridges are rated for up to 9.5 pages of text (black ink) or 9 color prints per minute (obviously you use special paper when printing color prints). When one considers how much longer printing color used to be compared to plain text, the speed that this Epson provides is pretty impressive.

Last to note on the left front is a memory card slot and a USB slot — both of those storage slots allowing for the physical introduction of content to the printer.

Using The Printer

Besides doing borderless 8x10” photo prints (with a 4x6” color print being had in as little as 10 seconds), CDs can be printed on, and a variety of craft projects are available by employing an Epson mobile app (which also makes for simpler access bypassing the LCD screen). Or email a document/attachment to the printer to print both. The app can also enable a direct Wi-Fi connection that bypasses the home network. In all cases this requires that the printer have Wi-Fi capabilities, so it does, although directly connecting the printer to a computer (desktop or laptop) is available — both for PCs and Macs. PC users have the advantage of additional software packages, but both computer operating systems are accepted by the XP-8600 quickly. Voice assistants are also supported, for those wanting voice-activated printing (warning: speaking concisely is a must here).

The Expression Photo XP-8600 Small-in-One Printer features a quiet mode (slightly slowing down printing speed), automatic firmware updates, works with Apple’s AirPrint, Windows 10, Android and Amazon Fire OS and has onscreen animations to guide the novice/initial user. Plus, as noted at the beginning, this all comes in an affordable package.

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