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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Relatively small and lightweight
Fast printing speed
Able to print from numerous sources
Buttons are loud and look cheap
Not completely wireless—requires AC power
The Epson PictureMate PM-400 isn’t a professional photo printer, but for the price you get a relatively compact and stylish wireless device capable of producing crisp pictures at respectable speeds.
Don’t let the moderate size of the Epson PictureMate PM-400 fool you. This photo printer packs in wireless capability, multiple printing source and set-up options, and an LCD screen to navigate your moves. It also delivers vivid pictures without much wait. If you’re looking for convenient and quality photo printing at home, this printer delivers on usability and performance.
The Epson PictureMate PM-400 is stylish as far as printers go, especially when it’s folded and measures just 9 inches wide, 6.9 inches deep, and 3.3 inches tall. The all-white body is not flashy, but the reflective lid adds an elevated touch. The outer edge of the lid and bottom edge of the tray align perfectly to close the device. This tidy fit streamlines the look of the PM-400. If you have a small office or don’t have a dedicated working area, this printer isn't a hassle to move as you need—it’s only 4 pounds and maybe a little extra with the ink and paper.
If you’re looking for convenient and quality photo printing at home, this printer delivers.
In use, the machine has a low profile at 9.8 inches wide, 15.1 inches deep and 7.9 inches high. The ports are placed intuitively on either side of the printer. On the left side, the AC power port is flanked by a micro USB port, and on the opposite side, there’s a USB port and an SD card reader.
The LCD screen is placed on the left side of the main body of the printer with the control panel right by its side. The LCD screen interface is clear and easy to read (there are just a few main menu items), but the type and color scheme give it an outdated feel. The buttons to control the LCD options are all clearly labeled, but they make a very loud beeping sound in addition to a fairly noisy clicking sound at every touch.
The paper tray claims to be capable of holding up to 50 sheets, and we found that to be the case. The paper feeds well and there’s an easy slide lever to set the paper size: 3.5 x 5 inches, 4 x 6 inches, or 5.7 inches.
The Epson PictureMate PM-400 is easy to get up and running. Once we plugged in and turned the machine on, we were prompted to choose our language preference and install the printer cartridge. It fits right into the cartridge space and is secured by pressing down until you hear a clicking noise. Pressing the Start Printing button initiates ink charging, which the system accurately advises takes about 4 minutes to complete.
Once we had the ink cartridge in place, we established a Wi-Fi connection. While it’s very easy to find the Wi-Fi settings on this Epson printer, it’s a bit tedious to toggle through the LCD keyboard via the touchpad to enter credentials. The button noise doesn’t help improve this experience, which is why turning the operating sound off from the Settings area made this step—and continued use of the product—much more bearable.
We also took some time to download the recommended software. That’s as easy as going to the downloads page recommended by the documentation. We went directly there and our macOS version was automatically detected while we were on the site, so Epson supplied the recommended combo package for drivers and utilities. The installation for the drivers took about six minutes to complete. If you choose to complete product registration via Epson Connect, you’ll gain access to more options through those services—such as the ability to set up printing from email or the Epson Connect mobile app.
Once the Epson PictureMate PM-400 gets to work, the results are rather impressive. The manufacturer claims that it’s capable of printing a photo in as fast as 36 seconds. The fastest print time we experienced was 42 seconds. And that was with the five pages of Epson Photo Paper Glossy paper included with the printer. The colors were quite vibrant, regardless of the type of photo (landscape, building, portrait) and we found skin color to be fairly accurate. But darker originals appeared even darker when printed.
The manufacturer claims that it’s capable of printing a photo in as fast as 36 seconds. The fastest print time we experienced was 42 seconds.
We printed an additional 15 photos using Epson Value Photo Paper Glossy which is thinner but has a higher opacity and brightness than the Epson Photo Paper Glossy. While paper brightness isn’t that significant to print quality on glossy paper, we did notice that the Value Photo Paper Glossy photos rendered more natural skin tones than the thicker and less bright Photo Paper Glossy. Print time was also longer, ranging from 1 minute to 90 seconds.
We also printed 10 photos on Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy at 5 x 7 inches. This paper is thicker than the other two types and has an opacity and ISO brightness of 96. As one of the highest-quality paper options offered by Epson, this paper is supposed to be ideal for professional photos. We definitely noticed that it felt more substantial, and the photos were also much crisper and true to the original—whether it was an image from a digital camera, iPhone, or an analog camera. The premium glossy photo paper required a bit more time for printing: up to 2 minutes in some cases for both film and digital originals.
The PictureMate PM-400 does require ink and paper from the brand for the best results. The ink by itself is less than $33, but you can buy a set that bundles ink with 100 4 x 6-inch pages for around $39. The more premium paper types compatible with this printer can cost around $25 for a set of 100 4 x 6-inch sheets.
The premium glossy photo paper required a bit more time for printing: up to 2 minutes in some cases for both film and digital originals.
One of the most appealing aspects of the PM-400 is the easy wireless connectivity. While we chose to connect using our wireless router and entering network credentials, Wi-Fi direct is another option. This route allows you to connect the printer directly to your phone or computer without the need for a router or access point and by creating a Wi-Fi direct password. WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) is another quick-access alternative.
Printing source options are also plentiful. You can opt to print directly from a computer, smartphone or tablet, via a USB drive, memory card, or from a digital camera wirelessly or through a USB connection.
As an Apple device user, we also appreciated the convenience of built-in AirPrint technology. AirPrint basic printing is just as easy as connecting a device to the same wireless network as the PictureMate PM-400. For additional control over printing settings, the recommended drivers and utilities provide an extra level of control over aspects such as managing scale, brightness, contrast, saturation, and red-eye correction. The only downside is that there’s no way to preview the outcome of setting tweaks before you hit print.
Printing source options are also plentiful. You can opt to print directly from a computer, smartphone or tablet, via a USB drive, memory card, or from a digital camera wirelessly or through a USB connection. Android users can also conveniently print photos from Google Cloud or via Mopria Print Service. We printed wirelessly from an Apple computer and iPhone and directly from a USB drive and SD memory card—which allowed us to view and select photos to print directly from the PM-400’s LCD screen. We experienced no performance issues or difficulties with any of these printing methods.
The manufacturer lists the Epson PictureMate PM-400 at $249.99, which isn’t the cheapest photo printer out there. The corresponding ink is about $33, plus the least expensive paper bundle (of 100 4 x 6-inch glossy sheets) you can buy costs about $9.50. If you buy the PictureMate 400 Series Print Pack, then you’ll get the ink and 100 4 x 6-inch glossy photo sheets, which is the approximate ink yield on one cartridge. According to the claim that one ink cartridge is good for about 100 prints, the average cost per page is 33 cents.
During our time testing the product, we printed 30 photos and noticed that the ink supply decreased by about 25 percent. This is an approximate reading of the ink supply level, which is represented as the shaded area of a bar indicator. Theoretically, you may be able to squeeze out more than 100 prints from one cartridge. But keep in mind the manufacturer recommends fully using an ink cartridge within six months of purchase. No photo printer is exactly cheap when it comes to supplying paper and ink, but compared to similar smaller wireless photo printers on the market, this is not outrageous.
It’s difficult to find an exact match with the Epson PictureMate PM-400. One model within a similar price range is the HP Envy Photo 7855 ($229.99 MSRP). While slightly less expensive out of the gate, the HP printer is an all-purpose machine that is designed to handle printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. That’s all a bit redundant if you’re looking for a dedicated photo printer. The ink costs are also considerably more expensive.
The Canon Selphy CP1300 sticks with the main purpose of photo printing. It retails for around $130, but if you opt for the $90 battery pack, it’s significantly more portable. The photo sizes include a square 2.1 x 2.1 inches to 2 x 6-inch size, which means you could use this as a photo booth at an event or party. And the tilting LCD screen simplifies navigation. If you want the flexibility to print larger, varying print sizes, you’ll be limited with this printer: 4 x 6-inch prints are the biggest you can go.
According to the manufacturer, the print time ranges between a speedy 39 to 46 seconds. While the Selphy CP1300 can only handle 18 pages at a time, versus the 50-page capacity of the Epson PictureMate PM-400, the cost per print is about the same. But at just 1.9 pounds and over $100 less (without the battery), this could be the preferable option if you want a truly portable printer.
If you’d like to shop around for other printing options for your home office, check out our guide to the best airprint printers, best photo printers, and best all-in-one printers.
A high-quality photo printer for home.
The Epson PictureMate PM-400 is a small-scale photo printer that could easily satisfy the amateur photographer or scrapbooker. If you’re looking for simple and enjoyable at-home photo printing, you’ll get swift performance, easy connectivity, and quality output from this device.