Epson Artisan 1430
Beautiful prints; vibrant colours; detailed blacks; easy to set up
Leaves streaks printing large borderless prints; ink is pricey
A dedicated A3+ photo printer used to be a product limited to only the most passionate photographers. Bulky, expensive and with limited functionality compared to the army of multi-functions on the market, the A3+ photo printer was never designed to be a product for everyone.
Or it wasn’t, until Epson managed to carve the price of the Artisan 1430 down to just $399. At that price, even keen amateur photographers can justify dropping the cash to be able to print off large photos.
Setting up the Artisan 1430 is a breeze. The included software DVD may not include drivers for Lion machines, but is still smart enough to point a browser to Epson’s website to make the setup simple. The printer has integrated Wi-Fi, which is surprisingly simple to connect given there is no need to enter in pesky wireless passwords on the device itself.
If you want to connect via USB, you’ll need to BYO cable though – it’s not included in the box. Annoyingly, it’s the same ‘Type B’ USB cable used to connect most printers, which are much less common than the ‘Type A’ cable every other gadget uses.
Print quality is generally outstanding. Colours are bright and vibrant, with plenty of fine detail when printing a large image. Printing on Epson’s own super-gloss and semi-gloss paper showed off just how impressive home photo printers have become in recent times. The blacks are especially deep, and monochrome photos offer a pretty wide spectrum of grey between white and black, although most photos have a very slight coloured hue.
The catch with the Artisan 1430 is that it really struggles with large, borderless prints. Every one comes out with streaky lines at the start and the end of the print job, an issue that disappears when printing images with a small white border around the photo. While that’s a pretty big sacrifice to have to make for a professional photographer, for an amateur on a budget, having a white border on every print shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
The Artisan 1430 is far from the fastest printer on the market, preferring to concentrate on quality over speed. There is a fast print mode, but the speed versus quality compromise isn’t worth using it. Although if you are honestly hoping to print high quality photos as opposed to word documents, speed shouldn’t be your biggest concern anyway.
The Artisan 1430 features six different ink tanks – yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta, magenta and cyan – each of which costs $27 to replace. While the printer is pretty economical with each ink tank, there’s no indication of how much ink is actually stored in each cartridge, making it hard to work out a cost per print. Still, $160 for a full array of ink cartridges is going to end up more expensive than paying for prints at the local Officeworks.
Epson’s Artisan range of printers also works with the company’s dedicated iOS app, Epson iPrint, which lets you wirelessly print from an iPhone or iPad with next to no effort. Connecting the app to the printer is painless providing you’re on the same wireless network, and while the Epson app doesn’t offer any editing, it’s certainly good enough for what it does.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
Having a dedicated photo printer is a great way for photographers to showcase their work, and the Artisan 1430 offers fantastic value for money. It struggles to create borderless prints at large sizes, but given the price, that can almost be overlooked. Ink is still expensive, though.