Review: Epson Expression Photo XP-960

The Epson XP-960 throws in a lot of features in a reasonably small package. Considering that it can print on A3, that is fairly impressive. Throw in all the other features, and you have a very good machine. So is this a Jack of all trades, or is there more to it than the amazing number of features it packs in?

Features and Specifications

  • Compact Photo all-in-one: Print in sizes up to A3, scan and copy up to A4. Prints on CDs/DVDs as well.
  • Mobile printing: Freedom to print and scan from almost anywhere
  • Claria Photo HD Ink: Superior-quality, long-lasting photographs
  • Dual paper trays: One for A4 and another for photo paper
  • Extra paper feed at the back for A3
  • 10.9cm touch-screen: Clear navigation and PC-free printing from a memory card
  • 3 in one functionality: Printer, scanner and copier
  • Printing resolution: 5,760 x 1,440 DPI
  • Printing speed: 28 pages/min Monochrome (plain paper 75 g/m²), 28 pages/min Colour (plain paper 75 g/m²), 11 Seconds per 10 x 15 cm photo (Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper)
  • 479‎ x 356 x 148 mm, 8.7kg
  • In the box: Individual Ink Cartridges, Main unit, Power cable, Setup guide, Software (CD), Warranty document

Our review unit came with 50 x A3 Glossy photo papers from Epson as well.

Setup

The initial setup is not unlike most printers. There is a lot of packaging tape all over the place that you have to take off.

Then comes the inserting of the 6 ink cartridges. Fairly straightforward.

After that, you power the device on.

It takes a little while for the first run, and the screen warns you that it could take up to 7 minutes.

After that, you may want to set it up via WiFi so you can connect to it via your various devices.

During our device’s initial setup, it also identified that it had a new firmware available, so we updated that as well.

The trays

So, this comes with two trays. One for photo paper and another for A4. These can take up to 100 pages.

Then there is a cheeky little tray at the bottom which you can pop a CD in so it can be printed on.

It also has a paper feed for A3 at the back. This one is rather annoying, as you can only feed it one page at a time, and you can’t just leave this page there. It needs to be sent something to print, and then you have to wait till the printer advises you to load it.

Of course, there is also the output tray. This is magic as it just pops out as and when needed, and is happy to go back in as well. This works in conjunction with the display which bends in or out as needed. You can also move it physically yourself too, to get the best viewing angle.

So, yeah. I started with the ‘two tray’ statement. I lied. There are… 5. 5 trays!

Connectivity

The connectivity of the device is rather simple once setup. The Epson iPrint app is decent, but you can easily work around it using apps such as Google Print or using WiFi print directly from your computer. Of course, having Epson’s own software works better to be able to access certain features. We found our usual apps adequate for our usage.

Regular printing

Then there is the regular printing. It happily prints on paper and you can use it for your office or home. It does the job as asked, but you really wouldn’t be getting this for just printing emails, would you? Any old (and cheaper) printer can do that!

Super duper A3 photo printing

Okay. Sad news. I wasn’t very impressed. I found the colours to be a bit washed out when I used the paper that was provided with the printer. I also found that every inch there was a clear line (like a dead pixel line on a monitor), indicating that the initial tuning of the printer didn’t work very well. I cleaned the cartridges, and it improved to a level, but look closely and you could still see it.

This did not stop me from printing quite a few photos though. There is definitely something magical about paper photos. Something even more so about them in A3!

Also, remember that to print on A3, you have to hit print, then wait till the printer tells you to feed the paper. This definitely becomes very annoying very quickly.

Update – 1 day later

Having spent more time fiddling with settings and playing more thoroughly with this, my impression has totally changed. It may be the initial setup, or maybe the printer needed time to ‘warm up’. Either way, the printer has clearly got all the printing capability down to a tee. The colours are vivid, it looks great, and it handles borderless printing amazingly well.

I have printed coloured photos, text, images, and it is all amazingly beautiful.

The only issue then, is the half a minute it takes to prints those photos.

Other features

You have a whole suite of other features. There is photo editing, there are apps that connect and bits and bobs. There is scanning as well. We tried them all out and found them adequate.

Can I forget getting my photos printed from professional shops?

For smaller photos, I would say yes. This definitely did the job.

For bigger photos, you need the correct paper. I would recommend the Epson Glossy paper that came with the printer. As noted above, once the settings were adjusted properly, the prints started to look really good. In fact, I almost started ‘looking for things’ to print.

For regular printing, it ticks the boxes easily. The price isn’t quite good for a ‘regular printer’ though.

More information

More information on the device can be found on the Epson website.

It retails from around £180 and can be found on various online retailers such as Amazon.

Verdict

So, here we are again. Is it a Jack of all trades,? Harsh, but perhaps closer to the truth. It does quite a fair bit really well, but the feature I was most excited about was the ability to print on A3. It took me a day (I did other things too!), and then it suddenly started to impress me rather well.  The price is still a bit steep though, but that is what you have to fork out for a printer that does it all. The only issue? Speed is still a bit slow, meaning this is more of a home printer rather than office.

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