Review: Epson XP-950

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There’s nothing quite like seeing your photographs on paper. The first few years of my photography were in film, and I used to get prints alongside a digital copy on a CD. I soon learned, however, that I invariably wanted to edit the photos upon receiving them, so rather than get prints and a CD, I just went for the CD to save some money and some trees. With my switch digital, I almost never printed. When the opportunity to review the Epson XP-950 arrived, I jumped at the chance because lately, I’ve wanted to get into printing because my photographs needed a home other than the screen. The XP-950 proved to be a viable conduit.

As a printer, scanner, and copier all in one it features Wifi connectivity and a scan resolution of 4800 DPI. Let’s take a look.

Pros and Cons

Pros

-Accurate color reproduction

-Touch-screen interface is highly responsive

Cons

-Takes nearly two and a half minutes to print an image on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper

-Takes far longer for an 11 x 17

-Trying to print on 4 x 6 paper is a near impossibility

Gear Used

I used the Epson XP-950 with my MacBook Pro, Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Gloss Paper, Ilford Galerie Prestige Fine Art Smooth Paper, Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper, and six Epson ink cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta).

Tech Specs

Courtesy of B&H Photo Video’s listing:

  • Print, Scan, Copy
  • Print Resolution 5760 x 1440 dpi
  • 9.5 ppm Black, 9 ppm Color (ISO)
  • Wi-Fi, Ethernet Printing & Scanning
  • Print & Scan with Memory Card, USB Drive
  • Cloud Print, AirPrint, Email Print
  • Automatic Duplex Print
  • Borderless Prints up to 11 x 17″
  • CD, DVD, Blu-ray Printing
  • Scan Resolution 4800 dpi

Ergonomics

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This printer’s full name is the Epson Expression Premium XP-950 Wireless Color Small-in-One Inkjet Printer. That’s a long name for a printer that’s fairly hefty. The XP-950 weighs in at 23 pounds, and its dimensions are 19-inches by 14-inches by 6-inches. Be sure to dedicate some desk space for it. Though it must be said that the XP-950’s wi-fi capability lends itself to flexible placement. If you don’t have space near your computer, don’t worry. You can print remotely.

Now, this printer has some moving parts on the outside. The part that’s sticking out the farthest from the front in the above image, is the tray where your nifty prints will reside after they come out. Above it is the touch panel that needs to be raised when you’re printing. At the back is the feeder tray for 11×17 paper, and along the top is the scanner cover. To the left of the touch panel is a compartment door that houses the SD and CF card slots.

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The scanner cover is jointed, and the scanner itself lifts up to reveal the innards where you’ll replace any or all of the six ink cartridges required to make full color prints. Keep this in mind for when you run out of ink.

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This is the paper tray that slides in under the output tray. The XP-950 can accept a variety of photo sizes, with the standard ones being 4×6, 8.5×11 and 11×17. You adjust the grey sliders to the corresponding points depending on the size of the paper you’re using.

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The bottom left of the front of the printer has a USB port for direct connection to your computer should your Wi-fi be a bit buggy. I never had to use it.

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The power cord plugs into the back of the unit. Keep that in mind with where you place it in your home or office.

Build Quality

The Epson XP-950 is all plastic and heavy. Don’t drop this thing when you’re moving it. Fortunately, it’s the type of device that lends itself to staying in one spot, so once you find a spot for it, you won’t have to worry about it. It is deceptively heavy, though.

Real World Use

Ease of Use

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This is the landing page on the touch screen. There are other buttons along the side of 3.5 screen aside from the disc that’s currently illuminated. Above the disc is the home button and below it is the return button. To the right of the screen are the up and down arrows and the confirm button. Unless you’re scanning in a document, checking the ink levels or setting up the Wi-fi, you won’t use the screen all that much.

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To set up the wi-fi, you tap the wi-fi setup from the landing page, and from here you hit Wi-fi Setup Wizard, which will take you through entering your router information. After that, you’ll be able to find the printer on your network.

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With scanning, the XP-950 provides several destination options. Scanning as a jpeg straight to your computer saves the image in your Pictures folder with the naming convention “img001” and so on. I imagine it’s the same thing with Windows.

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Printing is handled via your MacBook. There’s no Epson printing app. In the presets menu, be sure to select the type of photo paper you’re using. Otherwise, it’ll go with its default setting, which causes the XP-950 to print in sections which leaves lines on your image. I learned this the hard way, and lost some valuable sheets of 8.5×11 glossy paper in the process. Printing on 8.5×11 and 11×17 paper was easy enough, but for whatever reason, I simply could not get 4×6 paper to take. It would either print a portion of the image on the entire 4×6 sheet or it wouldn’t print anything at all. I typically don’t deal in 4×6 prints, so I didn’t mind this so much.

Real Estate

As mentioned previously, the XP-950 is 19-inches by 14-inches by 6-inches which is a considerable amount of space when you don’t have a lot of it. Find a spot and keep it there. Thankfully, you can print remotely via wi-fi, so you can place it in any number of spots, not just where your computer is.

Calibration

When boot it up and load in your ink cartridges, the XP-950 will print a test page with all manner of patterns and colors to show its accuracy, or the lack thereof in the case of some printers. Fortunately, the XP-950 is a highly accurate printer.

Setup

Setup is fairly easy. Wi-fi configuration is fairly quick as is ink cartridge loading. Everything is handled via the touch screen.

Image Quality

Color Accuracy

julius motal epson xp950 sample image 03Keep in mind that this is a scan of a print of a digital image, so there are several degrees of separation from the original file. What I can tell you is that this is an accurate rendition of the digital file, colors and all. From the deepest blacks to the brightest blues, this image is chromatically correct, and it pops on both Ilford’s and Epson’s glossy paper. If you find that your prints are slightly darker or slightly brighter than what you see on your screen, make sure your screen is properly calibrated. Prints do not lie.

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Conclusions

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

For around $249, you get a printer that will take its time, but it will produce high quality prints. I should mention that it works well for documents, too. It goes without saying that prints work best on photo paper. Printing on regular computer will yield results that look a bit muted, and the sheet will be damp for a bit since it’s soaked through with ink. The XP-950 deserves praise for smooth integration of Wi-fi and its highly accurate color reproduction.

We give the Epson XP-950 four out of five stars.

You pick it up at Amazon or Adorama.

Recommended Ink and Accessories

Ink: Epson Standard Capacity Multi-Pack. It’s cheaper if you buy it in a bundle. Of course, you can pick up each cartridge individually as you need it, but if you run out all at once, spring for the bundle.

Paper: Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Gloss and Epson Glossy Photo Paper.

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