Epson Expression Premium XP-530 review

Epson Expression Premium XP-530 review

The XP-530 is the cheapest model in Epson's Expression Premium range of inkjet multifunction peripherals (MFPs) for the home. Geared toward creative users, it uses Epson's five-ink engine, which combines a pigment-based black for text printing, with dye-based black, cyan, magenta and yellow inks for graphics and photos. You can share it via a wired network, print from or scan to an inserted SD memory card, or print automatically on both sides of a sheet of paper (duplex printing), but there's no fax modem.

On first impressions, 'Premium' isn't a word I'd use for the XP-530. It looks smart enough, with a squat stance and shiny black plastics, but its control panel features one of the smallest colour screens I've seen - a 3.7cm panel which looks like it belongs in a camera viewfinder.

It's paired with four-way navigation and an OK switch, and at the highest, icon-based level it works fine. Dive into sub-menus, however, and there's only room for it to display one option at a time, meaning you'll often have to scroll to find what you want. Entering our Wi-Fi password was tortuous, but the MFP does also support the simplified Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) process. I should note that the screen was very quick to preview photos on an SD card.

While it looks like there's an input tray folded up the rear, in fact you load paper in a 100-sheet tray slung underneath - I found it fiddly to re-stock this without knocking the output tray above it: on more than one occasion the printer naggedme to extend it properly again.

^ Epson's print driver combines quick shortcuts with more advanced options

Fortunately, things quickly improve when you start using the XP-530. For a start, it's an incredibly quick colour printer at this price, spitting out 6x4" colour photos in around a minute each, and despatching our colour graphics test at 6.4 pages per minute (ppm) - more than 50% quicker than we'd expect. Its black text speed of 9.0ppm is less impressive, but switching to draft quality produced faint but acceptable results at 16.3ppm. A single, black A4 photocopy took 16 seconds, while a colour copy took 24 seconds.

The scanner was similarly quick, needing just 10 seconds to preview an A4 page or to capture it at 150 dots per inch (dpi). Capturing a 6x4" photo at 600dpi took just 25 seconds, but repeating the job at 1,200dpi was slow, at two minutes and 16 seconds.

^ A fully automatic scan mode crops originals and chooses suitable settings

While I've seen sharper results, the XP-530 captured colours faithfully, and was able to distinguish the full range of shades in our tests. Print quality was impressive, with crisp black text and vivid colour graphics on plain paper, and natural, detailed photos on coated papers. While not a match for Epson's more expensive six-ink printers, pictures were comparable to those from five-ink Canon printers.

Epson says that the XP-530 doesn't use its photo black ink in plain paper printing, so it's not included in our 8.7p per page running cost calculation. Even so, this is more than 2p higher than we calculated for this MFP's main rival, Canon's PIXMA MG5750 . There's not much to pick between the two. For me, the Canon is the better all rounder, and while the Epson is faster to print in colour, its higher running costs and miniscule screen rob it of a fifth star.

Hardware

Technology

Piezo inkjet

Maximum print resolution

5,760x1,440dpi

Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth)

1,200x2,400dpi (24-bit)

Number of colours (cartridges)

5 (5)

Maximum number of colours (cartridges)

5 (5)

Quoted photo durability (source)

Not stated

Standard interfaces

USB, 802.11b/g/n wireless

Optional interfaces

None

Dimensions (HxWxD)

138x390x341mm

Weight

6.2kg

Duty cycle (pages per month)

Not stated

Paper handling

Maximum paper size

A4/legal

Maximum paper weight

N/A

Standard paper trays (capacity)

1 (100)

Maximum paper trays (capacity)

1 (100)

Duplex

Yes

35

N/A

Photo features

Borderless printing

A4

Direct (PC-less) printing

Memory card

Memory card support

SD

Supported operating systems

Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Android, iOS

Other features

3.7cm colour screen

Buying information

Warranty

One year RTB

Price

£70 inc VAT

Consumable parts and prices

Epson 33XL cartridges: black (530 pages ISO/IEC 24712) £14, cyan, magenta and yellow (600 pages each ISO/IEC 24712), £12 each. Photo black (400 photos ISO/IEC 29103) £13.

Quoted life of supplied black cartridge(s)

N/A

Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)

N/A

Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT

8.7p

Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)

6.0p

Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)

2.7p

Supplier

www.currys.co.uk

Details

www.epson.co.uk

Part code

C11CE81201

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