Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel
The Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 is a compact all-in-one printer that has an innovative new design and is perfect for anyone looking for an affordable all-in-one photo printer. The printer has a unique ‘invisible’ design that means you can print from almost anywhere, and there’s also a range of creative features to help you take your photos to the next level.
In this review, we’ll take a look at what makes this printer different from the rest and how it compares to the rest of the Epson Expression Photo range.
Epson has introduced two new ‘compact’ models for the Photo Expression range, with the XP-8600 reviewed here providing conventional A4 printing, along with a scanner and copier, for £129.99. This model is available on Amazon for a little less.
While it isn’t the cheapest inkjet printer out there, you get the benefit of high-quality 6-color printing (plus the cost of all those ink cartridges, which we’ll discuss later). Also available is the XP-970, an A3 model that costs £199.99.
Specifications for the Epson Expression Photo XP-8600
- An A4 multi-function printer
- Resolution 1440×5760 dpi
- 6-colour photo-printing system
- Scanner/copier 1200×4800 dpi
- 100-sheet A4 tray, 20-sheet photo tray, manual paper feed
- USB and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Dimensions: 349x340x142mm, weight: 6.7kg
Epson Expression Photo XP-8600: Design & Features
As it measures just 349mm wide, 340mm deep, and 142mm high, the XP-8600 is a superbly compact device that can easily fit on a desk or shelf at home, or in an office where space is at a premium.
In addition to a 1440x5760dpi printer and a 1200x4800dpi scanner, Epson has packed a lot of features into this printer. The printer has two paper trays at the front for A4 paper and photo paper, as well as a manual feed at the back for heavier photo papers or specialty papers.
As a result, you can print a wide variety of documents without ever having to change paper types. Similarly, the motorized output tray slides out of the front of the printer when you’re printing, and then slides back in with just a quick tap.
In addition to USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, the printer supports Apple’s AirPlay for iPhones and iPads, as well as Google Cloud Print for Android devices. Also, Epson provides its own Connect app, which allows users to print and scan remotely while on the go.
With the XP-8600, you can transfer and print photos from a camera using a USB interface and an SD card reader. You can also print on CDs and DVDs, or print two-sided (duplex) for brochures and booklets, and the 10.9cm touch-sensitive control screen makes it easy to find the options you need.
Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 performance:
Despite its speed and quality for non-photographic files being surpassed by many less expensive inkjet printers, the XP-8600 performs well with our standard text and color graphics.
Epson quotes 9.5 pages per minute (ppm) for mono documents and 9ppm for text and graphics in color. Both mono and color documents were closer to 8.5ppm in our tests, so the XP-8600 won’t be a suitable choice for an office or home worker who prints lots of business documents every day.
However, the text quality is acceptable for everyday use but lacks the sharpness and smoothness of Epson’s best inkjet printers, which can use different types of black ink that rival the text quality produced by more expensive laser printers.
As you might expect, however, the 6-color capability of the XP-8600 really shines when used for photographic printing. The app creates subtle, natural-looking skin tones in portraits and selfies, as well as rich, vibrant colors in landscapes and scenery.
Darker areas within an image are crisp and well defined, with strong contrast, and still, retain the fine detail provided by a high-resolution printer. Epson also points out that its special “Claria” inks can last up to 300 years, so you can rest assured that your photo albums and happy memories won’t fade away too soon.
Photo printing speeds aren’t terribly fast, either. Epson claims a print time of 10 seconds for a 4×6-inch post-card, but our test photos took 30 seconds on glossy paper using the printer’s normal setting, and even longer on the best setting.
When we stepped up to the best quality, we were able to print a larger photo at full A4 size in 65 seconds on normal and 130 seconds on the best quality.
But in the end, you got impressive lab-quality prints that you could frame or use in creative projects such as calendars. Business and marketing materials can be printed using the printer’s duplex printing and booklet options.
The disadvantage of using six colored inks, of course, is that replacing the ink cartridges can be very expensive. Nevertheless, Epson sells multipacks containing all six inks, with the standard-size multipack costing £60.99 and the high-yield XL multipack costing £112.99.
The standard black ink cartridge lasts only 240 pages, which is equivalent to 4.2p per page, while the five standard color cartridges provide 360 pages, which is equivalent to 14.1p per page. Those figures are quite high, even when you consider the use of six separate ink cartridges, but you can bring them down a bit if you choose the XL multipack instead.
The XL black cartridge lasts for 500 pages, which makes mono-printing 3.8p per page. Even so, this is still above average for simple mono printing, so the XP-8600 isn’t a good choice for those who simply need an office printer for letters and other text documents.
However, the five XL color cartridges last for 830 pages, giving a cost per page of 11.3p for color printing. Considering the high-quality 6-color print system provided by the XP-8600, that might be a bit high for a traditional four-color inkjet printer.
Pros and Cons
|Multiple connectivity options||The printer doesn’t work well with Windows 7.|
|Excellent quality photos.||Photos can be skewed when printing from a tablet.|
The 6-colour printing of the XP-8600 is obviously overkill for home users who are simply looking for an affordable all-purpose printer.
If you’re a keen photographer and don’t mind paying a little more for high-quality prints, then the XP-8600 is the right choice for you. The results aren’t overly fast, but the quality is worth it.
In addition to a decent touchscreen, scanner, Wi-Fi, two paper trays, and the ability to print on discs, this printer is compact and offers a number of useful features.