Epson Expression Premium XP-530 review

Most inkjet printers under £100 use four coloured inks for printing documents and photos. These low-cost printers also tend to use just two ink cartridges – one cartridge for the black ink, and a second ‘tri-colour’ cartridge that holds the cyan, magenta and yellow inks for colour printing. See also: Best budget printers 2016

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Epson’s Expression Premium XP-530 is an exception to that rule. It’s still very affordable, at around £90 from a number of online retailers but, as the name implies, it’s also a ‘premium’ printer that uses five inks to enhance the quality of your photo prints. There’s a conventional black ink cartridge for printing simple text documents, but the cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges are complemented by an additional ‘photo-black’ ink that is designed specifically for printing photos.

The results are pretty impressive, with smooth text output that isn’t quite laser-quality but should still be more than adequate for most home users. Colour graphics also work well, so the XP-530 will be a good option for students who need to print reports, or home workers who want to print out the occasional marketing brochure. Print speeds for both types of document come in at about nine pages per minute, which is also perfectly respectable for a printer in this price range.

However, it’s the printer’s photo output that really shines. That extra photo-black ink really adds crispness and contrast to photo prints, while the printer’s 5760x1440dpi resolution ensures that images are sharp and detailed. And, at just 34 seconds for a 6x4in postcard, the XP-530 also proves brisk when churning out your holiday snaps.

The only disadvantage here is that using five inks can push up the printing costs a bit. Using Epson’s standard black ink cartridges for text printing works out at a hefty 3.8p per page, which isn’t great value at all. Using the high-yield XL cartridges brings that down to 2.7p per page, which is still a little higher than we’d have liked but not extravagantly expensive.

Colour printing is a bit more reasonable, coming to 7.2p per page with the standard cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges, and a competitive 5.2p when using the XL cartridges. However, you will need to add another 3p when printing photos, because of the extra cost of the photo-black ink. That does makes the XP-530 a little more expensive than a conventional four-colour inkjet printer for photo output, but if you’re a serious photographer and you want really high-quality photo prints then the XP-530 is about as good as you’ll get for less than £100.

Using five separate ink cartridges also helps to reduce waste, as you only need to replace individual cartridges as they run out, whereas the tri-colour cartridges used by most inkjet printers have to be replaced even if only one of the inks has run out.

Other features include a built-in A4 scanner and copier, and duplex (two-sided) printing. The XP-530 includes Wi-Fi and USB connectivity, along with Apple’s AirPrint for printing from iOS devices, and Epson’s own EpsonConnect feature that allows you to print over the Internet by emailing photos to the printer when you’re away from home.

There are a few rough edges, though. The 100-sheet paper tray feels very flimsy, and the tiny LCD screen may leave you squinting to read some of the menu options and settings, but those are minor flaws in an otherwise impressive little printer.

Epson Expression Premium XP-530: Specs

  • 5-colour inkjet printer
  • Print resolution – 5760x1440dpi
  • Scanner resolution – 1200x2400dpi
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, USB, Apple AirPrint
  • Paper tray – 100 sheets A4
  • Dimensions – 390x341x138mm
  • Weight – 6.2kg
  • 5-colour inkjet printer
  • Print resolution – 5760x1440dpi
  • Scanner resolution – 1200x2400dpi
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, USB, Apple AirPrint
  • Paper tray – 100 sheets A4
  • Dimensions – 390x341x138mm
  • Weight – 6.2kg

OUR VERDICT

You’ll need to keep an eye on running costs, but the Expression XP-530 will be a good option for people who don’t need to print lots of documents every day, but who do need very high quality for photos, school reports and other documents.

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