Epson presented me an opportunity to beta test their Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-format Printer (referred to from now on as the “15K”). I own another Epson printer (the Workforce 3460). Throughout the review, where applicable, I’ll make comparisons to that printer. I used the 15K for roughly a week. This review is broken into different sections. If you want the full run-down, please read on. If you’re only interested in the final yea or nay, please skip to the end.
Packaging & Unboxing: Packaging draws you in. Colors pop. The box provides information needed to make a purchase decision -- printer dimensions, speeds, resolutions, accessories, etc. The printer is securely packaged. Unboxing took about 10 minutes.
Printer Footprint & Build: Surprisingly small footprint -- 18.7” (L), 14.5” (W), 6.3” (H), with all trays/supports collapsed. Easily fit on my work desk, which has two monitors. Front tray, fully extended, adds possible 10.5”. Top, three-tier support, fully extended, adds 11.5” height. Housing is made of same plastic used in most mid- to high-end printers. Internal components (metal, plastic, rubber, & cork) are well-made. 15K will be able to handle bumps & items placed on it. External build looks high-end. Top of printer is “rough,” lessens fingerprints you’d see otherwise. Front control panel, also not reflective, can be pivoted out. Rotates on internal gears that provide decent resistance & allow you to easily view LCD screen. Panel stays in place, removing need to hold panel while pressing controls. Still easy to press control housing into printer body. Slides (trays, supports, etc.) are typical of Epson builds. Can be interesting to pull out, but stay in place. Front tray holds up to 200 sheets of paper (max 8.5”x13”). Top tray holds up to 50 sheets (max 13”x19”). Output tray is automatic (elegant touch). If closed, will open to hold printouts. Given 15K offers two-sided printing, has removable duplexer on rear of housing, to clear jams. Rollers seem meaty, well-made. Cartridges glide seamlessly. Printer offers a “normal” & “quiet” mode. “Normal” mode is quieter than my 3640. Printer doesn’t offer SD card reader.
Control Panel & Buttons: Provides 11 buttons & 2.4” LCD screen. Left of LCD, are power & home buttons. On right is a keypad to control print jobs, navigate printer’s built-in user interface, & control automatic output tray. Buttons provide nice response. LCD screen isn’t a touch screen. Onscreen images are clear. Navigation & confirmation of selections is intuitive. Can’t click through menu or other options too fast. Interface takes a second to catch up, sometimes resulting in need to hit “back” button to enable selecting on-screen options. Go relatively slow, shouldn’t face problems.
Accessories: Power cord; 6, full-size cartridges (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, & Gray); CD with drivers, etc.; assortment of hard-copy documentation; cleaning sheet; bag for print cartridge protectors; &, nice sample pack of printing paper -- premium glossy photo paper, borderless glossy photo paper, heavyweight matte paper, & premium semi-gloss photo paper (about 5 sheets of each). All sets of sheets separated by non-acidic paper. Epson chose not to include printer USB cable. For $350, they should have.
Setup: General setup fairly straightforward, although I found initial software-guided setup to be wonky. Epson provided auto-connect method. It’s supposed to form temporary WiFi network (not involving your router) between 15K & PC, failed for me. With no USB cable, I didn’t test wired option. I closed software-guided setup & installed another way, which I recommend doing. Connect the 15K to your wireless network, first; run PC installer (selecting “Wireless connection”); choose “The printer is already on my wireless network,” &, follow setup instructions. Better than auto-connect, IMHO.
***General Setup: Hardware setup is easy. Read & follow "XP-15000 Start Here" guide & 15K’s onboard instructions. Full setup took about 30 minutes. YMMV, depending on how thorough/careful you are with unboxing, etc. Don’t rush. Follow instructions carefully. Setup & use experience will be better for it.
***WiFi Setup (Do 1st): WiFi setup was a snap. Used 15K’s wizard, in A/C (5GHz)/N, G, B (2.4GHz) network. Printer saw N 2.4 GHz band with no problem. Noted on the box, 15K only supports 2.4GHz wireless radios. After selecting 2.4GHz channel & entering router's password, connecting was buttery smooth. 15K has a strong wireless radio & (despite decent distance from router, with obstructions) found my network immediately. 15K prompted me to run firmware update, which I did. I then installed drivers on my PC.
***Win 10 Install: Didn’t use included CD. Drivers tend to be outdated. If you don’t have web access, CD will get you up & running. Used web browser to hit 15K’s driver/software page. Downloaded & installed full driver & utilities combo. 15K’s page offers: print drivers (local & remote print), Epson software updater, print CD software, & Epson Connect printer setup. Page provides links to mobile apps (Creative Print & iPrint, for Android/iOS). Installer completed in three minutes. Setup will prompt you to run Epson Connect & Google Cloud printing -- not Apple AirPrint. After install, Epson’s monitoring software, found in PC’s taskbar, shows overall status of printer (jobs, ink, ways to clean & adjust print nozzles, software updates, etc.)
***Online Registration, Etc.: Was directed to my Epson user page (previously configured with 3640 setup). Logged in, 15K appeared, along with 3640. Easily configured & customized email-to-print, etc. Opened Epson iPrint app on my Android. App found 15K right away. Could now print from my phone. Set up is easy. Take your time. Online instructions can help if you hit a snag. Epson does a great job of making seamless mobile/remote-print experience. If opting to set up Google Cloud Print or AirPrint later, find printer's IP (use Epson iPrint app), enter IP in internet browser, log into printer’s interface as admin (if needed), locate Google Cloud Print or AirPrint option, open either/both, & follow instructions to set them up. Mobile print allows you to print from any Android device or browser (when logged into your Google account) or Apple device (when on same WiFi network as 15K).
Print Quality, Speed, & Ink: My 15-year-old son is a photography hobbyist. He purchased a decent Nikon camera, lenses, etc., began shooting photos semi-professionally, & needed a printer that could produce high-quality photos. 15K is really for him (although, despite being deemed a photo printer, it can produce any document type you want). My son tested photo prints, using included sample paper. He timed a print on “normal,” using 8.5x11 semi-gloss paper. Generated in 3 minutes, 30 seconds. He said final print was decent quality, but lost some definition. IMO, minor amount of detail was lost, but you’d really have to look close to see it. FWIW, I’m happy with the photos. They’re every bit as good those online or from a brick & mortar store. Regarding ink cost, despite the use of six cartridges, the cost of sheets, & the $350 price tag for the 15K, you’ll save roughly 5 times the money printing your own photos with the 15K, vs. using an online developer or in-store photo-development kiosk & shops. Can’t speak to using cheaper cartridges or refilling those provided. Epson doesn’t recommend it (for different reasons). Regarding cartridge life, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, & Black seem most used. With roughly 20 document prints, in normal quality, & a few hi-res, full-sheet photos, & nozzle charge, clean, & alignment, about 1/8 of the four cartridges listed was used. Gray/red barely touched. Regarding paper, use high-quality paper to get great results.
***Packaging & Unboxing: 5-star. Inside & out, 15K presents well & is well-protected. Will arrive safe & sound to your workplace.
***Printer Footprint & Build: 4-star. Aesthetically pleasing, relatively small footprint, seems solid, all-around. Loses a star, as trays can be difficult to pull out. Once out, they stay where they should.
***Control Panel & Buttons: 4-star. Overall feel & operation is good. Loses a star due to somewhat laggy, but sufficient, user-interface.
***Accessories: 4-star. Items included are wonderful. However, Epson should’ve included a USB cable.
***Overall Setup: 4- (or possibly 5-) star. Not a fan of WiFi auto-connect, which Epson tries to push during setup (either that or wired connect... impossible without USB cable). If you can get around WiFi auto-connect, process is seamless. YMMV. Some people have no problems with auto-connect. If you don’t, experience is 5-star.
***Print Quality, Speed, & Ink: For both documents & photos is a 5-star, IMO. YMMV, depending on paper & settings used & source files. Print speeds are reasonable for this price range. Printouts are every bit as good as online or brick & mortar stores. Also, using the 15K, you’ll end up saving time & money.
Recommended Purchase?: Are you really getting the bang for your buck? Yes, this is a solid 4-star purchase and absolutely worth the cost. It’s a photo printer with a reasonable footprint. One capable of delivering high-quality photos. It can serve as a multi-function printer that can print CD/DVD/Blu-Ray labels, high-resolution documents, iron-on transfers, etc. It allows you to print photos/files from your PC, Android or iOS device, or by using email-to-print. If you have access to the web, you have access to your printer. Epson delivers quality with the XP-15000. Seriously consider the purchase. You’re not likely to regret it. This is a review for the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-Format Printer that I received free of charge to do a beta test & review. If I find a need to change my review, I’ll do so ASAP. ‘Til then, happy printing.