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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Great print quality
Duplexing from the ADF
Big full-color control panel
Multiple connectivity options
Affordable photo prints
Low capacity paper tray
Motorized tray and display are slow
The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 is a relatively compact all-in-one printer that produces remarkably vivid photo prints in no time flat.
The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 is an entry-level all-in-one photo printer that’s well suited for personal and home office use. It prints regular documents on regular paper, a variety of sizes of full-color photos, and it can also scan and copy via both a flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder (ADF). With an affordable price tag, attractive per-print cost, and a wide array of connectivity options, this all-in-one inkjet makes a strong overall showing.
I recently shelved my massive Canon laser all-in-one, replaced it with an XP-7100 for about a week, and put this compact little unit through its paces. I tested things like print quality and speed, scan quality, and calculated things like per-print cost, all to see whether an Epson XP-7100 is worth the investment.
Epson calls their XP-7100 a “Small-in-One printer,” because it handles copying, scanning, document printing, and photo printing all in a form factor that isn’t that much larger than a typical inkjet printer.
The main body of the printer is mostly made up of glossy black plastic that’s both highly reflective and a magnet for dust and dander. It does have the upscale look that comes with a glossy black finish, but it also takes more effort to keep the printer looking nice than if it had a matte finish. The upside is that it will look great on your desk next to the rest of your high-end electronics, but you’ll want to keep a dust cloth handy.
While it looks simple and utilitarian at first glance, the XP-7100 is a bit of a transformer. The lid flips and slides to reveal an automatic document feeder and provide access to some internal components, and both the flip-out front panel and the paper tray are motorized.
Beneath the flip-out display and motorized tray, you’ll find the two paper cartridges. Both of the paper cartridges are adjustable, although one of them is specifically designed to accommodate specialty photo paper in a variety of sizes.
The XP-7100 comes wrapped securely in cling film with every moving component held in place with blue tape. That isn’t especially out of the ordinary, but you will want to set some time aside to free the printer from its shipping cocoon and be very careful to remove every single piece of tape and every hidden foam spacer and brace.
Once I finally freed the XP-7100 and plugged it in, setup was a breeze. The most time-consuming task was installing the ink cartridges, which included black, cyan, yellow, magenta, and photo black. Epson provides a little pouch to hold the ink cartridge caps, presumably to keep them safe and simplify the eventual cartridge disposal process.
Outside of ink installation, I was able to complete most of the setup process, including connecting the printer to my Wi-Fi network, using the touchscreen display. The rest of the process was easily handled by the HP printer app on my phone, and I never even had to touch my desktop computer until the time came to run some test prints from there.
Both of the paper cartridges are adjustable, although one of them is specifically designed to accommodate specialty photo paper in a variety of sizes.
The XP-7100 is an entry-level, five ink, all-in-one, and the print quality is just about as good as you can expect out of such a device. I put it through its paces printing both test documents and a variety of documents that I required for various purposes. The text was uniformly crisp and easy to read, with only the smallest amount of banding visible in a handful of cases.
This isn’t a laser printer, but the black and white document quality is remarkable. When printing black and white documents on regular paper, I measured the XP-7100 at just below the claimed 15.8 pages per minute (PPM) that Epson lists on this printer’s spec sheet.
The real star of the show with the Expression Premium XP-7100 is the five ink photo printer, and the overall quality is fantastic. I printed primarily large 8x10 inch photos using the primary tray and 4x6 inch photos using the second tray, and everything came out great, with strikingly vibrant colors, deep dark blacks, and a finished product that I would be hard-pressed to separate from professionally printed photos.
When printing 4x6 inch photos, I clocked the XP-7100 at about 20 seconds per print. That’s significantly longer than the 12-second figure Epson gives for printing a 4x6 inch photo in draft mode, but I think the increased quality is worth it.
When printing 8x10 inch photos on Epson’s premium glossy stock, I timed the XP-7100 at about one minute per print. Not exactly a speed demon, but decently fast for such a large photo printed on such a small machine.
Of special note is the fact that you can use a special adapter to print full-color labels on inkjet printable CDs and DVDs.
The real star of the show with the Expression Premium XP-7100 is the five ink photo printer, and the overall quality was fantastic.
Epson claims that you can get 650 prints out of one set of photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow ink cartridges. That’s based on ISO pages, at 5 percent coverage per color, so it’s a bit misleading if you’re thinking about full-color photograph prints.
Using their figures, and the current cost of ink for this printer, you’re looking at about $0.16 per print before you figure in the cost of paper. I think a more realistic number would be closer to $0.25 per print before you figure in the cost of paper, and that’s still being fairly generous.
This all-in-one comes with a flatbed scanner as well as an ADF, so you have your choice depending on what you’re trying to scan. I experienced excellent results from both methods, but I especially appreciated the inclusion of single-pass auto-duplexing from the ADF. That feature, which most all-in-ones in this price range lack, actually makes this printer the stronger buy if you’re looking at a number of similar devices.
The ADF holds up to 30 pages at a time, which is a bit of a limitation. However, the fact that it can scan both sides of each page with just a single pass saves so much time that the limited ADF capacity isn’t that much of an issue.
In addition to scanning directly to a computer, you also have the option to scan to a memory card.
The copier function starts with one button copying, but it goes well beyond that basic functionality. You have the option to copy in color or black and white to start, with a text-specific mode, a mode for text and images, and even a mode for copying photos. The black and white text documents took about six seconds each, and full-color copies were a bit slower at around eight seconds each.
In addition to basic color and content settings, the copier function also comes with a number of other useful features. You can easily enlarge or reduce your copies, remove backgrounds to just leave text, create photo reprints and enlargements, and even copy directly onto inkjet-printable CDs and DVDs.
Some of these features, like the option to restore old faded photos, provide mixed results. A professional can definitely achieve better results using a computer, but it’s still a nice option to have for simple copies.
I especially appreciated the inclusion of single-pass auto-duplexing from the ADF.
The Expression Premium XP-7100 is a Wi-Fi printer, and the Wi-Fi connectivity works really well. I set it up initially with the onboard interface and finished with my phone, but the Epson software on my PC was able to find and connect to the printer effortlessly later on.
In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the XP-7100 also features a USB port, an Ethernet port, the ability to print via Wi-Fi Direct, and supports SD, SDHC, SDXC, and CF memory cards.
I printed wirelessly using the Epson app to great success, but you also have the option to use Epson Email Print, Epson Remote Print, AirPrint, Cloud Print, and other methods.
With an MSRP of $200, and typically available for between $100 and $150, the XP-7100 is priced right in line with other entry-level, low-volume, all-in-one printers. It lacks the FAX capabilities typically seen in slightly more expensive units, but it boasts single-pass auto-duplexing from the ADF feeder and a wide variety of connectivity options that you don’t see in all of its competitors. At this price point, the single-pass auto-duplexing feature makes it a very attractive option.
The HP Envy Photo 7855 shares a lot of features with the XP-7100, with a slightly higher MSRP of $230. The actual sale price of the 7855 typically fluctuates between $100 and $230, putting it on similar footing with the XP-7100.
First of all, and most importantly, the XP-7100 boasts slightly better image quality than 7855. However, the difference is small enough that you really need to look at additional features to make a choice between these printers.
The one feature that the XP-7100 has that similarly-priced competitors lack is single-pass auto-duplexing. The Envy Photo 7855 does have automatic duplexing, but it has to scan each page twice, which massively increases the amount of time it takes to scan a set of documents. And since the ADF capacity is only five sheets larger than the XP-7100, that’s a very important distinction to make.
The HP Envy Photo 7855 does have the option to participate in HP’s ink subscription service, and there is no similar option for the XP-7100. That means the XP-7100 is cheaper to operate if you figure in the cost of individual ink cartridges, but the Envy photo 7855 is much more economical if you opt for HP’s ink subscription service.
I have to give a slight edge to the XP-7100 due to print quality and the single-pass auto-duplexing feature, but it’s worth taking a look at the HP Envy Photo 7855 if you do high volume photo printing.
Great photos and features at an affordable price
The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 packs a lot of great features into a nice compact package. It delivers crisp documents, vibrant photos, and fast copies, backed up by a single-pass auto-duplex feature and a wide variety of connectivity options. It isn’t the cheapest photo printer in terms of operating costs, but it’s affordable enough in low volume applications and worth a look for most personal and home office uses.