Epson (http://www.epson.com) says its US$299.99 Artisan 835 All-In-One printing and scanning solution provides the world’s fastest 4 x 6-inch photo print speeds. I won't argue with that as the printer is, indeed, darn fast. And the Artisan 835 offered the most seamless wireless set-up I've ever attempted for an all-in-one.
The Artisan is capable of wireless networking for remote printing and touts a 7.8-inch multi-function touch panel with a 3.5-inch LCD that facilitates its set-up and use ( on the Mac, it works with Mac OS X 10.4 and higher). The touch panel only lights up buttons you need for a particular function.
The Artisan 835 is versatile. Its paper cassette features a 20-sheet dedicated photo tray for media up 5 x 7 inches and can hold up to 120 sheets of copy paper. The Epson all-in-one can print on a variety of media from 3.5 x 5 inches to 8.5 x 14 inches.
The print output is gorgeous. Text and graphics are sharp. Photos look excellent, especially in Best mode. They're colorful and vibrant and as detailed as the prints from any all-in-one I've ever used.
Besides printing, you can use the all-in-one for scanning, copying or faxing documents. (Does anyone actually fax anymore?) The 48-bit color flatbed boasts an optical resolution of 4800 dpi and a maximum resolution up to 9600 x 9600 dpi, interpolated. The convenient, multiple scan-to features include PDF, memory card, USB flash drive, computer and network. If you do a lot of scanning and retouching of old photos, you should consider a dedicated photo scanner. But for most of us the Epson all-in-one's scanning and copying features will be more than adequate.
The Artisan 835 isn't small at 25 pounds, 18 x 18 x 8 inches in storage, and 18 x 26 x 8 inches while printing with the output tray is extended. Still, it's not overly bulky considering all the features you get. It has a 30-day auto doc feeder that folds into the lid when it's not being used and a built-in card reader so you can, for example, print photos without connecting your Mac. There's support for SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Pro DUO, xD-Picture cards, Compact Flash, PictBridge-enabled devices and USB flash drives.
The Artisan comes with five standard capacity 99 color cartridges (CYM plus Light Cyan and Light Magenta) as well as one high capacity 98 black cartridge. For those who prefer high capacities, all five 99 color cartridges come in a high capacity cartridge.
Keeping the Artisan 835 "fueled" with ink ain't cheap. One high capacity 98 black ink cartridge and five standard capacity 99 color cartridges will set you back about 70 bucks when buying the color multipack as opposed to each individually packaged color cartridge (which I certainly recommend). Purchasing six high capacity 98 ink cartridges in the color multipack costs around $98. But that's the price of good print quality, it seems.
Epson's review materials say the Artisan supports Apple iOS 4.2 update, which allows wireless printing from the iPhone and iPad. However, my iPad couldn't "find" the Epson device. Hopefully, this will be rectified in the near future, as Apple says more printers will be supported (as I write this, only certain HP printers support AirPrint).
If you don't do a lot of color printing, a less expensive option than the Artisan 835 might suit you better. But if you print many photos, photo books, greeting cards, etc., this all-in-one will give you amazing output -- and quickly.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
-- Dennis Sellers