Epson Stylus Pro 3880 £1402
26th Jul 2011 | 09:49
It offers A2 photo prints, but is bigger really better?
Upsizing your prints from A4 to A3 makes them twice as big – go up to A2 and they're twice as big again, four times the size of an A4 picture. A2 printers are usually correspondingly large, too, and expensive, but the Epson Stylus Pro 3880's relatively modest dimensions and price make it an attractive proposition.
The A2 print size of 17x22 inches looks impressively larger than the 13x19 inches of an A3+ image, but the aspect ratio is a bit on the square side for photo prints. Considering that the 3880 can create prints of up to 17x37.4 inches, it seems strange that Epson doesn't sell A2+ or 'Super A2' sized media in any of its photographic or ﬁne-art media ranges.
One thing that deﬁnitely is super-sized, though, is the 3880's ink cartridges. These are a generous 80ml, which means you can keep printing for much longer without needing to change cartridges. Plus both photo black and matte black are installed simultaneously, like with the R3000.
Sadly though, you still waste about 1.5ml of matte black ink or 4.5ml of photo black ink when switching between matte and glossy media. The bigger cartridges provide a saving of about £1.50 per A3+ colour print, compared with the R2880. The ﬂipside is that a complete set of cartridges for the 3880 will set you back a whopping £450.
Compared with the R2880 and R3000, resolution drops from 5,760x1,440dpi to 2,880x1,440dpi, but image quality is still excellent.
With a lower resolution, print speeds are noticeably faster in maximum quality mode, with an A3+ print taking 8m 53s to produce, compared with 11m 9s on the Epson R2880. A2 prints take 7m 9s and 12m 38s in high quality and maximum quality settings respectively.
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