The Epson Artisan 800 is a photo inkjet multifunction device that can print, scan, copy, fax, and print directly on to inkjet printable optical discs such as CD-Rs and DVD-Rs.
You can connect the Epson Artisan 800 to your PC via USB 2.0, Ethernet, or over 802.11g wireless. We had difficulty scanning over a wireless connection, and the text printing on plain paper can't be classified as laser sharp, but the photo prints and photographic copy quality will attract avid shutterbugs willing to look the other way on those small annoyances.
Physically similar to Epson's WorkForce multifunction devices, the Epson Artisan 800 is an attractive unit with a combination of shiny and flat black surfaces with silver accents. Its most distinguishing feature is its large 7.8in touchscreen, which allows you to navigate the menus and settings, dial fax numbers, and view and edit 3.5in previews of photos from inserted camera cards or USB thumb drives.
The Epson Artisan 800 has two paper trays, one for holding up to 120 sheets of plain paper as large as 8.5 by 14 inches, and one for either 4-by-6 or 5-by-7 photo paper. You can choose between printing snapshots and printing regular documents without going to the printer to load the proper paper. The trays themselves feel flimsy, as does the folding paper output tray.
The scanner has a maximum 4,800dpi optical resolution, with an 8.5 by 11.7-inch flatbed. Legal-sized documents can be scanned when using the 30-sheet, automatic document feeder built into the lid. Though the Epson Artisan 800 lacks 48-bit output, our tests scans were of Very Good quality, with pleasing and fairly accurate colours tending a bit towards red and missing some shadow detail in darker areas.
Handy buttons let you save your scan as an image file, send it to your email program, save the scan as a PDF, or scan to text using the included OCR software. Scan times were respectable with an 8 by 10, 600dpi scan taking about 30 seconds to complete when connected directly via USB 2.0.
The Epson Artisan 800 uses six dye-based inks (black, cyan, light cyan, yellow, magenta, and light magenta in individual tanks), to print great looking photographs. Prints of our picnic colour photograph test file showed no visible dots, great detail, and near perfect colour matching. Plain paper printing isn't as stellar, with text lacking sharpness due to ink bleeding into the paper - the text is still very legible, just not as sharp and clean as a laser printer or some other inkjets.
Plain paper test times are fast, with a single page taking about 13 seconds and a 10-page Word document taking only 1 minute, 22 seconds to complete. The Epson Artisan 800 doesn't offer automatic double-sided printing standard, but Epson sells an optional duplexer for that function.
The Epson Artisan 800 also offers copy capabilities, and, as you might imagine, the results reflect the problems and strengths mentioned above. Copying a photograph onto photo paper worked very well, with excellent colour reproduction and just a little loss of depth and clarity of the original photo.
Plain paper copying isn't quite as good. A copy of a magazine cover on to plain paper looked okay, but not as good as some other multifunction devices we've tested, with blacks not quite as solid and bold and lines not as sharp and clean.
The Epson Artisan 800's built-in fax machine allows you to send and receive monochrome or colour fax, uses a 33.6Kbps modem and can store up to 180 pages in memory and keep up to 60 speed dial numbers handy.