You’d never believe photos this good come from a $150 printer

Epson Expression Premium XP-7100

MSRP $239.99

“The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 delivers excellent photos on par with much more expensive models.”

Excess

  • Awesome photo printer

  • Fast color printing

  • Compact size

  • Low price

  • Thumb drive and SD card support

Counter

  • High cost per page for color

  • 300 dpi mobile scanning

  • Envelope printing failed

Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 is an all-in-one printer optimized for photos, but its list price puts it in the budget category. At $150, we wonder how good the photo printer is. We also tested the speed, ease of use, and long-term cost of these cartridge-based printers to see if they offer enough quality and value.

Design

Epson's Expression Premium XP-7100 has shiny black sides
Alan Really / Digital Trends

The XP-7100’s black color lives up to its premium aspirations and is perfect for the home photo studio. Home printers intended for casual use are often white to blend more easily with the decor.

I don’t mind the textured black top, and the shiny corners look nice. It’s also compact, especially for an all-in-one printer equipped with an automatic document feeder (ADF). It stands just 8.1 inches tall with the ADF panel open for scanning. To access the flatbed scanner, you need to lift the cover.

The footprint measures 15.24 inches wide by 14.5 inches long when the tray is closed. Epson gives the Expression Premium XP-7100 an intelligent automatic output tray that extends when printing. The 4.3-inch color touchscreen panel can automatically tilt up at the same time. That increases the length to 23.5 inches.

There’s a USB port on the front for easy printing and scanning via thumb drive. The memory card slot accepts SD, SDHC, SDXC, and microSD with an adapter.

Printing with a USB drive is easy with the Expression Premium XP-7100.
Walk-up printing with a USB drive is easy with the Expression Premium XP-7100. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The main paper tray is tucked under the bottom and is very thin for a multifunctional mechanism. It’s fully removable, holds 100 sheets of paper up to 14 inches long, has a built-in photo tray, and features space for printing directly to CDs and DVDs. Envelopes and special papers are loaded in the back.

Epson packs a lot of functionality into a small space. The question is whether the quality and speed are good enough with this compact design.

Printing performance

I compared draft and top quality prints on the Expression Premium XP-7100.
I compared draft and top quality prints on the Expression Premium XP-7100. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

In testing, the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100’s output was impressive. I tested borderless full-page printing, 4×6 photo printing, and plain paper printing for a variety of images. Color fidelity is excellent, with detailed images on photo paper and decent quality even on plain paper.

It’s no surprise that Epson knows how to make a great photo printer, but I wrongly assumed that there might be a sacrifice in quality for such a low price. The Expression Premium XP-7100 uses a five-color Claria Premium ink system that almost matches Epson’s six-color variety.

A professional photographer might be able to see the difference, but it was a challenge for my eyes to detect the slightly better color fidelity Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500, six-color premium photo printer. It’s a much more expensive printer, but the ink tank savings will add up over time for heavy users.

Of course, black-and-white printing is sharp too. Monochrome printing is fast at 15.8 pages per minute, and two-sided printing is supported. Colors don’t lag too far, scrolling through 11 pages in a minute.

If you’re short on time, don’t be afraid to try out “draft mode” photos. Images printed in draft lose a little detail but look almost as good as normal quality prints, which are almost indistinguishable from top quality.

When printing multiple copies, it is worth checking that draft mode is good enough as it saves ink and prints faster. To be honest, I doubt I would choose top quality with such beautiful photo prints in standard settings. A 4×6 is done in just 12 seconds and looks great.

I can't print envelopes with the Expression Premium XP-7100.
I can’t print envelopes with the Expression Premium XP-7100. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The compact paper feed seems reliable, but two 4×6 photo papers can be pulled at once. This does not affect printing and may be caused by the higher humidity and stickiness of the photo paper. The envelope test was the only place where the Expression Premium XP-7100 let me down. I couldn’t print the envelope properly after three tries. If I find a solution, I will update this article.

It’s not an ideal office printer; it is a photo printer. If you want fast and reliable printing of documents, labels, and envelopes, a laser printer is often a better choice than an inkjet printer. Overall, print speed and quality were among the best despite envelope issues.

Special features

Despite its compact size, this document feeder is fast and reliable.
Despite its compact size, this document feeder is fast and reliable. Alan Really / Digital Trends

Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 is an all-in-one printer that can function as a scanner and color copier. Printing and copying are great, but scanning is the weak point, at least the way I use the scanner.

When scanning to a mobile device, I need the Epson iPrint app. This is an old app, and only supports up to 300 dots per inch (dpi), which doesn’t provide enough quality if you crop it when scanning. If you’re scanning to a USB thumb drive, SD card, or computer, there’s an option for 600 dpi resolution.

The thumb drive and memory card options are important to me because my computer is not near a printer. The lack of high-resolution scanning in the app seems like an oversight. Epson maintains the iPrint application, and the most recent update was only made a few weeks ago. Maybe a fix for higher scanning density will come in a future update.

For a low-profile printer, Epson gives the Expression Premium XP-7100 a great document feeder. The ADF worked well, quickly and reliably in scanning multiple double-sided pages. It can handle 30 pages at a time. Flatbed scanners are fast and easy to use, making copying easy.

Software and compatibility

Don't forget to shake the largest Expression Premium XP-7100 cartridge.
Don’t forget to shake the largest Expression Premium XP-7100 cartridge. Tracey True / Digital Trends/

With the Epson Expression Premium XP-7100, setup begins with installing the ink cartridges and aligning the print head. That’s pretty standard for inkjet printers, although some use scanners to automate and speed up the alignment process.

Epson documentation warns that you should gently shake the largest cartridge, the black one, before installation. This is an easy detail to miss and can cause printing problems.

Because this is a photo printer, there are five types of ink, including cyan, magenta, yellow, and regular black. There is also photo black which works better when printing images.

Epson's Expression Premium XP-7100 requires four color cartridges and one black cartridge.
Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 requires four color cartridges and one black cartridge. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Epson includes a plastic bag to store the ink caps that need to be removed. This can get messy, so roll up your sleeves before you get started.

After installation, the printer takes a few minutes to prepare the ink cartridges. The next step is to connect to Wi-Fi. Epson doesn’t mention the mobile app in its quick start guide, so I connected it manually. Since my printer is upstairs, I use it my router’s long-range 2.4GHz band.

Connecting via Mac or Windows PC is easy and effortless. You’ll need to install Epson apps to access every feature, but for printing, you can use the system software.

From your iPhone, you can print without an app. On Android, I installed Epson Print Enabler which acts as a driver. To use the scanner, I realized I needed the Epson iPrint app. It also provides more control over printing. Honestly, this printer handles documents and images with ease, so you only need an app to scan and monitor ink levels from your phone.

Price

The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 retails for $240, but the retail price is closer to $150 at some retailers. This makes upfront costs very low for high-quality photo printers and all-in-one devices.

Long-term ink costs are actually the most important consideration for cartridge-based inkjet printers. A four-pack of color cartridges costs $48.29, good for about 300 color documents. That brings the cost of color printing to 16 cents per page.

Epson says four high-capacity color cartridges can hold about 650 pages. That’s $75.96, bringing the average cost of a color document down to 12 cents. That’s better, but still expensive.

Black-and-white printing costs between 4 and 5 cents per page, but as a photo printer, I wouldn’t use much black ink.

Is this the right printer for you?

Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 can print beautiful photos quickly and handles most monochrome printing tasks well. Scanning and copying with the flatbed and document feeder work well with thumb drives, memory cards, and computers.

If you need to do medium to high volume photo printing, the Expression Premium XP-7100 will be expensive because Epson’s Premium Claria ink cartridges are relatively expensive for low yield ink cartridges that require four cartridges for color printing and one for printing. one color.

This printer is thoughtfully designed and well built but has some drawbacks when printing envelopes and scanning to mobile devices.

Overall, I was impressed with the print quality, but I wish the cost per page was lower. This is a great choice for photography enthusiasts who want to occasionally print their best photos to share with friends and family. If you want to print in color every day or make many color copies, Another photo printer may be better suited to your needs.






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