4th Jun 2007 | 23:00
The Epson R360 promises memories that last
There's been a lot of scaremongering of late concerning the robustness and longevity of inkjet photo prints. Epson is out to silence any critics with its new Claria inks, six of which are featured in the R360 photo printer.
As well as switching to variable droplet sizes to enhance the visual smoothness of photos, Epson claims that Claria prints are smudge-free and water-resistant.
Such claims bore up well in our tests, which included flicking drops of water at photo prints. Admittedly though, we didn't have 200 years to test their longevity to see if the claims of prints that last for generations are accurate.
Neat and compact, the only thing that's truly outsized about the R360 is its 3.5in clear and bright LCD. This makes previewing photos from the built-in multi-format card reader a joy and enables you to see whether photos are worth printing before going ahead. Simple, intuitive controls go further still to make direct photo printing without resorting to your PC a genuinely attractive proposition.
While photo prints are more colour-fast than most, the speed of the printer was disappointing in our tests. Epson claims that 10x15cm photo prints take a mere 13 seconds to output, but standard quality prints of this size took at least 38 seconds.
Switching to highest quality mode, we had to wait for a lengthy 5 minutes 14 seconds for a borderless A4 print.
Colour rendition is good overall but the R360 had a tendency to create slightly cold-looking skin tones. This was the only flaw, however as in other respects prints were extremely sharp with good tonal range and plenty of detail in highlights and lowlights alike.
Mono-print quality isn't great and text has a greyish look, which you would expect from a photo printer. Unlike most models of its kind, it is quick (30ppm) and cheap, at about 2p per print.
In its more normal photo printing mode, however, ink costs worked out at a distinctly average 15p per 10x15cm print.