A Game Changer-Epson L1800


J(22_2015_Changer)2Epson has finally honoured our wish to have an A3-plus version of their popular ink tank printers, known for their cost-effective printing. The L1800 is a six-colour ink tank printer that is expected to replace third party ink feeders from small studios and home-based studios. Let us see how the printer performs.

Design and Build Quality
The Epson L1800 is well built and is as sturdy as Epson’s earlier professional series printers. The body is made of tough engineering plastic, and has a matte finish. The ink tanks are hooked to the printer by the side, and the ink tank tray has a knob to prevent ink flow while transporting. The device is heavy, similar to other A3+- size professional, and occupies considerable space on the desk. There are grooves that you can use to lift the printer, and these facilitate easy transporting. The paper trays are of good quality. PRINTER Review Epson L1800

Key Features
The Epson L1800 features six ink tanks that are understandably larger than those of the earlier L-series printers. The printer uses Cyan, Light Cyan, Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow and Black colours for a wide colour gamut than the earlier L-series printers. The printer uses on-demand ink jet method for printing. The printer uses 90 nozzles per colour. It features a Micro Piezo printhead, which delivers a very high resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi. Epson uses Variable-Sized Droplet Technology (VSDT), which produces a minimum ink droplet volume of 1.5 pico litre. The printer can churn out a 4 x 6 inch borderless photographic print in approximately 45 sec. Doublesided printing is available, but you have to manually flip the page.

Paper is fed by friction feed method. The paper feed tray can accept 100 sheets of A4 plain paper (75gsm) or 30 sheets of Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper. The output tray can hold 50 sheets of A4 Plain paper or 20 sheets of Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper. The device can handle papers of various sizes such as A3+, A3, B4, A4, A5, A6, B5, 10x15cm (4×6”), 13x18cm (5×7”), 16:9 wide size, Letter (8.5×11”), Legal (8.5×14”), Half Letter (5.5×8.5”), 9x13cm (3.5×5”), 13x20cm(5×8”), 20x25cm(8×10”), Envelopes: #10(4.125×9.5”), DL(110x220mm), C4 (229x324mm), and C6(114x162mm). The printer can handle a maximum paper size of 12.95 x 44 inches. The L1800 allows you to print borderless images via custom settings.

The printer is connected to the PC via USB 2.0 Hi-Speed. The printer software is compatible with Windows XP, XP Professional x64 Edition, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and Mac OS X 10.5.8, 10.6.x, 10.7.x, 10.8.x, and 10.9.x. The printer has dimensions of 705 x 322 x 215mm and weighs 12.5kg.

Ergonomics
The Epson L1800 is easy to set up and use. The printer comes with six ink bottles, and these are innovatively designed so that ink does not spill while filling. The buttons are self-explanatory, and there are no confusing controls on the device. Once the driver software is installed, the on-screen instructions guide you to set up the printer. The Epson software also includes maintenance tools for aligning and cleaning the print head when required. Ink level can be visually monitored through the translucent ink tanks. Once you are ready to print documents or images, the photo printing wizard guides you through the process.

J(22_2015_Changer)3Performance
We tested the L1800 with Epson Premium Glossy photo papers. In the past, we have tested A3+ printers with 8, 10, or 12 colour cartridges. But the 6-colour L1800 also produced a rich colour gamut,  though the colour separation was lower than the top-of-theline printers in this category. The advantage with the L1800 is that you don’t need to install a third party ink feeder to make printing economical. The printer reproduced fine details without any problem. Skin tones were reproduced accurately, and text was resolvable up to 2 points. Fine lines were reproduced well, though we observed moire patterns when the lines were very finely spaced. Colour bleeding was minimal, but observed in red colour. Saturated colours were produced very well, and blacks were reproduced as true blacks.

In Normal mode, the printer produced an A4 size borderless colour photograph in just under 9 minutes, while in Fast mode,  it took approximately 5 minutes for the same image. Though we couldn’t make out much difference in the prints, there seemed to be  slightly more ‘punch’ in the one printed in Fast mode.
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Value for Money
The Epson L1800 retails at an MRP of Rs.33,999. At this price, the printer is good value for money if you plan to make lot of A3-size photo prints. 

PLUS
• Ink tank system
• Economical photo printing
• Excellent image reproduction
• Good value for money reproduction

MINUS
• None observed

FINAL SCORE                             88%
Design and Build Quality            18/20
Key Features                            18/20
Ergonomics                               17/20
Performance                             17/20
Value for Money                        18/10

VERDICT
Epson L-series ink tank printers have been very successful, thanks to the low cost per print. The L1800 is the first A3- plus photo printer from Epson that uses ink tanks. The printer is a good performer, and certainly a Best Buy amongst similar devices.
Sujith Gopinath