Pros:Produces color photo prints as good as a $4,000 printer!
Cons:Max print size 8.5"x11" with inks costing about 10 cents for each.
The Bottom Line: BEST $119 I've ever spent on ANY printer & if I had known the quality of photo prints it produces, might have bought it even when it was $300.
As a professional photographer who shoots with Hasselblad, Nikon and has made his own color prints with a Cibachrome processor, I know good prints when I see them.
Recommend this product?
When the Epson Artisan 837 recently went on sale at a brick & mortar chain for $129 and Amazon had it at $119, I read a few existing reviews and decided to see if this inexpensive printer could come even close to producing professional grade color prints.
WOW is the best word I can describe the capabilities of the Epson 837 when used with even the least expensive photo paper I could find.
When I visited the retail store to buy the printer, a young salesman said he had a Epson and suggested that ONLY the Epson photo paper would generate the best color prints. I bought a pack of Epson's Premium Grade Photo Paper but never opened it because I knew that I ahd some sample photo sample from having attended a trade show.
Setting up the printer was easy. Didn't even require me to read any instructions, other than to first install the software from the CD. Turned it on with the front power button, followed the touch screen prompts, inserted all 6 ink cartridges and I was ready to go. Note: if you have Windows 8 (which I do) there are new/updated drivers you can quickly download from Epson website. I used the Windows 8 drivers instead of the CD and they work flawlessly. During the initial setup (which takes about 7 minutes) you hear sounds like a bunch of tiny robots playing soccer inside the printer.
Photo paper. I had a sample sheet of 12 Mil and decided to do an 8.5"x11" full bleed test print of a photo I had previously blown up to 36" x 60" on a friend's Canon IPV8300 wide printer that uses 12 ink cartridges. I left the Epson settings on Standard Color Photo and watched as it printed the job in about a minute. I'll say it again ... WOW!
Hard to believe but my eyes say that this $119 Epson 837 printer offers the same quality photo prints as a $4,000 Canon IPV8300.
My next test was with a thinner & cheaper 7 Mil photo paper sample. Amazingly, same results! At that point, I started shopping online for the cheapest 7 Mil photo paper I could find and chose the Office Depot (OD) Standard Photo Paper Gloss which comes in a pack of 100 8.5in by 11in. (Office Depot Item #394-325). Drove to OD and exchanged the $37.99 Epson pack of 50 sheets for the OD pack of 100 sheets for $20 less. Note: The price at the store was $26.99 but when I mentioned the lower price on their website, Office Depot sold it to me for the $17.99 lower price.
As I had hoped (and mostly expected), the Office Depot photo paper produces color prints that are just as good as my prior test prints.
Inks. Now that I've decided that the Epson 837 will be generating lots of gorgeous prints I decided to plan ahead and see who has the best deal on ink cartridges. Currently, if I want to buy them at a brick & mortar where I can check the freshness date on the box, OfficeMax is the leader at $54.99 for the Epson T099920 set of 5 (OfficeMax Item #21711435). However, I believe that both Staples and Office Depot will match that price after they verify it on the web. If you prefer to order online, newegg has the current lowest price for the 5 cartridge T099920 pack at $47.48 delivered.
MARCH 16, 2013 UPDATE: Despite numerous reports about ink cartridges drying up if the printer isn't used for several weeks, I intentionally allowed my Epson 837 to sit idle for nearly 3 weeks (and I'm in one of the lowest humidity places in America). Turned it on and printed a full color photo perfectly!
I will update this review as I learn more about the Epson 837 and its many other capabilities.
P.S. DO NOT BUY A CANON PRINTER!!! My friend's IPV8300 died a month ago after less than 18 months of service. Local repairmen have been unable to fix it (even after $700 in new parts + $150/hour labor). Canon refuses to do anything to help him despite numerous phone calls to Canon HQ, sales reps and the dealer who sold him the machine. The warranty on the printer was 1 year. Canon then suggested he replace a circuit board which is $1500 plus labor but nobody would guarantee that the printer will work even after having spent about $3,000 in parts & labor. After over 2 months of practiocally begging Canon for help, they finally "stepped up" and covered all the additional parts and labor that it took to get the printer working again. Unfortunately for my friend, he lost $thousands in print jobs as a result of over 10 weeks of downtime.
I've suggested he replace the Canon with an Epson!
Read all comments (1)