Epson's Expression Premium XP-630 Small-in-One Printer

When the occasional print, scan, and copy is all you really need

Epson Expression XP-630 Small-in-One Printer
Photograph courtesy of Epson

Pros:

  • Supports printing from and scanning to USB thumb drives and SD, SDHC, and SDXC
  • Prints labels on appropriately surfaced CDs and DVDs
  • Auto-duplexer for unassisted two-sided printing
  • Supports Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct
  • Good photo and graphics reproduction

Cons:

  • Small input tray
  • No automatic document feeder (ADF)
  • High cost per page
  • No fax capability
  • Sluggish business document printing
  • No Ethernet
  • Lack of legal-size document (8.5x14 inches) support

    Bottom Line:

    Considering this Small-in-One’s $90 (street, $149.99 MSRP) price tag at the time of this writing, it seems appropriate for most low-volume home and home-based businesses, but hardly economical for heavy print environments.

    Part of Epson’s “Small-in-One” family of printers, the subject of today’s review, the Expression Premium XP-630 Small-in-One Printer, replaces the Expression Premium XP-620, and it’s closely related to the Expression Home XP-430 Small-in-One About.com reviewed a few weeks ago. Both Small-in-Ones print relatively well, but since these are essentially entry-level (beginners) printers, they have their limitations, which, depending on how much and what you print, may or may not affect your usage of this Small-in-One at all.

    The Small-in-One product line consists of several models ranging in list prices from about $70 (for the XP-430 mentioned above) to around $300 (for the Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer reviewed here a few months ago).

    Our review unit, the Expression XP-630 falls in about the middle of the series, and it's been out long enough that if you shop around you can find it for $89.99, or just $20 more than the XP-430. If it comes down to paying an additional 20 bucks for larger, feature-rich model, I'd say go for it.

    Design and Features

    One thing sorely missing, given this printer’s $150-list price tag, is an automatic document feeder, or ADF, for feeding documents to the scanner.

    Instead, you’ll need to scan every page, double-sided or otherwise, manually; i.e. scan one side, save it, turn the page over manually (by hand), scan the other side, save it, and so on until the entire stack of documents is digitized—a tedious task, the larger your stack of originals.

    At 15.4 inches across, by 13.4 from front to back, by 5.4 inches tall, and weighing a slight 15 pounds 11 ounces, this Small-in-One really is a petite all-in-one designed to do a little of everything but not a lot of anything. A 2.7-inch “touch” screen anchors a small control panel that tilts upwards slightly during operation.

    From here you control several options, including walkup or PC-free operations, such as making copies, printing from or scanning to a USB thumb drive or an SD card, as well as printing from and scanning to various cloud sites around the Internet.
    As to it having a touch panel, though, you can’t actually execute commands or navigate by touching the screen; instead, you use buttons below the screen. As my colleague M. David Stone from PC Magazine said, all touching the screen actually does is smudge up the display.

    Another feature many folks find handy is the ability to print directly on pre-labeled CD-ROM, DVD, and Blu-ray optical discs.

    You simply insert the disk in a small caddy that comes with the printer and then insert the caddy into the printer just above the output slot. Epson provides fairly robust and easy-to-use disc labeling software on the bundled disc, as well as several other utilities for scanning, editing photos, and converting text to editable text.

    Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

    Entry-level, low-volume printers like this one aren’t particularly fast. Epson rates the XP-630 at 13 pages per minute, or ppm, for black-and-white prints and 10ppm for color. Two-sided, or duplex, printing is rated at 5.5ppm for monochrome and 4.5ppm for color (technically, 11 and 9 pages); however, as pointed out in these pages a few times, the test pages used to achieve these results consist primarily of unformatted text.

    As formatted text, graphics, and photos were introduced into the test documents, print performance curtailed, slowing way down to about 2 or 3 ppm, or slower, depending on content. As for print quality, overall, this Small-in-One does a decent job, although text could have been a little crisper. Graphics and images, on the other hand, looked great. You may not want to use the XP-630’s somewhat mediocre type in your resume, but otherwise print quality should hold up to most home office standards.

    As for paper handling, the XP-630 comes with a 100-sheet paper tray, and inside of that a 20-sheet dedicated premium photo paper tray. The output tray, on the other hand, holds only 30 pages—you won’t be printing any long manuscripts or reports without babysitting the output tray, but if you don’t print much, a small output tray isn’t a big deal.

    Cost Per Page

    One of my biggest concerns about this printer is how much it costs to use. Granted, it’s a low-volume machine, and a photo printer to boot, and both are supposed to have slightly higher (compared to high-volume business printers) per-page operational costs. In addition, the XP-630 comes with a fifth ink cartridge—Photo Black, which increases the reproduction of deep blacks.

    Unfortunately, it also increases the cost of using this printer, which is already too high. And, since I can’t figure out when the Photo Black cartridge kicks in, it’s not included in the following cost per page estimates; assume that any page with a lot of black on it, as well as photos, uses the fifth tank, thereby increasing the cost of the page.

    When you use this printer’s high-yield tanks, which, according to Epson, cost $24.99 for the 500-yield black cartridge and the color tanks run $18.99 and are good for about 650 prints. Using this these numbers, we calculated the black-and-white CPP at 5 cents, and the color output about 13.7 cents per page.

    Again, these figures don’t take the Photo Black ink into consideration. In any case, they’re high enough that you wouldn’t want to print or copy more than a few hundred pages per month. Anything more than that and you might want to consider something designed for higher volume, perhaps one of Epson’s WorkForce models, such as the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One.

    The End

    The Epson Expression XP-630 Small-in-One Printer is handy as a personal printer, or perhaps a home printer, but only if your family does a minimal amount of printing and copying each month. It’s not really built to work very hard, but what it does do it does reasonably well. It’s especially a good deal if you shop around and find it for $90.

    Across the board, perhaps this Small-in-One is one Canon's photo-centric Pixmas, such as the six-ink Pixma MG7720, or perhaps the cheaper, five-ink models, like the Pixma MG6820. Unfortunately, these Pixmas, while they do have scanners, they too don't have automatic document feeders (ADFs) for feeding original documents to the scanner. 

    Buy the Epson Expression XP-630 Small-in-One Printer at Amazon

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