Epson Stylus CX7400 Color Printer

Date Fri, May 23 2008

I am really excited to be discussing the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer not just because I really like it but because I finally have a working printer and what’s more is that I can use it with my digital camera’s memory card to directly access and printer photos without needing to use my computer!

We picked up the Epson Stylus CX8400 at a local store. I had been looking at it and chose it mostly for 4 reasons: it’s sexy and black, I can print directly from my memory card with it, it functions as a scanner as well and it was priced reasonably. Although I would be using is mostly as a document and photo printer, I occasionally will use these functions as well.

As an all-in-one printer, the Epson Stylus CX8400 does not necessarily need to be hooked up to a computer for some tasks. Copying and photo printing can be completed by using the controls on the top left of the unit as soon as the printer is plugged in and turned on. To scan or print a file from one’s computer, the printer must be hooked up which I did immediately.

On the outside, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer a great printer with a classy finish, a smooth and looking and easy to use control panel on top and, right above that a 2.5′ LCD screen to view photos which also shows printing status and intructions for the current task. I was impressed by the LCD itself but the fact that it tilts upward really makes working with this printer easier. Having to stand over the printer to go through photos is certainly not something I want to do but the tilting LCD screen lets me work with the printer while sitting down. Another plus of this is how neatly the paper loading tray and paper catching tray fold up. There never has to be any part sicking out in your way!

Unfortunately, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer does not come with a USB cord so I needed to purchase one which meant I couldn’t test it as a printer right away. Also, the port for the USB cord is unique in that, to fit most cords, one must unscrew and remove a panel, plug in the the cord, slip the cord through a hole in the panel, slide it back in and insert the screw again. I was a bit frustrated by this; why couldn’t Epson simply make the panel accessible to all cords without the extra step?

So, the first thing I tested this with was printing photos. I had never done this before but it was easy. There are several ports in front of the Epson Stylus CX8400 for different camera cards. I personally have an XD memory card but many others are supported

  • Compact Flash
  • Microdrive
  • Memory Stick
  • MagicGate Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick PRO
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • MultiMediaCard
  • xD-Picture card (Type-M & Type-H)

Several other types of memory cards can be used with adapters

  • Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • MiniSD
  • MiniSDHC
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
  • Memory Stick Duo
  • MagicGate Memory Stick Duo

Upon plugging in my memory card and pressing the button for “Memory Card” from the control panel and the printer took a short while to load all the photos; the LCD screen showers the status. Then I had the option to either View and Print Photos, Print All Photos, Print by Date or Print Index Sheet. Each option has a small description and most of them are common sense.

Printing an index sheet may be a function unique to Epson printers or it may be something most photos printers allow but I can see how it would be useful. It allows you to print off small thumbnails of all the pictures on a card, 30 to a page. Then, you can mark the photos you want to print, scan the index sheet and the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer will print them.

I cannot see myself using this feature much, however. Even with less than 500 photos on my picture card, I would need to wait for 16 pages to print. Furthermore, I’d rather save that ink for the actual photos! Plus, I think it would take just as much time, if not more, as going through all the photos (It seemed to take about a minute to print 4 pages before I gave up on it and canceled), which is one of my concerns.

There does not appear to be an option for viewing more than one photo at a time when working with a picture card. The Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer only allows me to view 1 at a time so, to find the picture I want to print, I need to go through all of the pictures on my picture card. While this is slightly annoying with my older, smaller card, my current one has 700+ photos and I haven’t even filled it!

Unfortunately, the dates on my pictures cards are never right and I don’t pay attention to when I take photos, anyway. I don’t see myself using that feature of the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer. However, it could be useful to someone else.

It’s also unrealistic for me to print all my photos at this point. However, with a newer card with less photos or a smaller card, this may work great!

I had purchased a 100 pack of Epson’s Premium Photo Paper Glossy for a reasonable price, slipped it into the loading tray and adjusted the feeder guard so all I needed to do was adjust the photo for printing after I located the one I wanted.

The Menu button allows me to easily change settings such as paper size and type, border, quality and date. When selecting a photo, pressing Display/Crop shows settings for zooming, rotation and portion of the photo to print. Of course, the ratio for my photos is 3:4 where as the ratio of the paper (4 x 6′) is 2:3 which means the photo needs to be cropped. However, this isn’t a large deal.

After zooming, rotating and move the guide, I’m ready to hit Okay. If I make a mistake, it can easily be undone by pressing Back. When the picture if perfect, press Okay twice then hit the Print button. It’s all really easy.

It does take a while to print photos but I can’t complain because the quality is extremely nice. The photos I have printed thus far all look much better than almost any picture I’ve taken with a traditional film camera! If you didn’t know

The Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer promises to be smudge proof and scratch resistance and while the latter isn’t quite as true as I’d like, the photos are smudge proof which is probably good for someone like me! The ink is also apparently fade and water resistant and I even went to far as to mist a print out with water; the claims are true! I’ll have to wait and see how well the ink holds up to time but I have high hopes!

I took the copy function for a test drive as well. After inserting the page to copy in the scanner, I selected the Copy button from the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer‘s control panel. There were options to adjust paper size, type and colour along with a few additional options. After adjusting until I was content, I pressed the print button and my copy began. I found the actual copying of a B&W document to print quite slow, as it seems is the case with this printer.

After purchasing a UBS cord, I was able to install the printer drivers and software. This process did seem to take an awful lot of memory and it hung at several places but installation completed without any major problems. Along with the drivers, the installation includes Epson Scan (scanning software), ArcSoft PhotoImpression (for photo editing), Arcsoft Print Creations (for making print projects like calendars), and software for monitoring the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer such as a users guide.

I tested the other functions. As a printer, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer worked well. The text document I printed was high quality. Oddly enough, the black and white document seemed to take longer to print than any of the other types of printing (photo, index sheet) and it was a bit jerky but it wasn’t anything that would bother me in the long run.

The scanning function works well. I scanned some comic covers for my husband and it was easy and the scan was high quality. The scanner itself shows where to line up the document clearly (bottom, right). The scanner warms up quickly and the scanning itself is much faster than any scanner I’ve used before. The only large issue I have is that the scanner itself is quite small; the width is only slightly more than a standard letter sized sheet so this won’t work well for some projects.

I’ve used the scanner with both Windows scanning utility and Epson scan, the software provided, which has several modes: Full Auto, Home and Professional. The auto mode crops the scan without showing a preview and automatically saves scans to the “My Pictures” folder so I prefer to use the Home Mode which lets me select the type of document, colour, destination (also where you change the DPI) and preview before scanning. Professional mode has more specific options which are beyond my need including document type and source, exposure, image type, resolution, and further adjustments like tone, image adjustment, dust removal, backlight correction, descreening et cetera.

To sum it up, this is a sleek looking printer with many functions I shall find useful. I was impressed by the memory card feature although it would be improved by an option to view several photos at once. For those who need a similar feature, the option to print an index sheet might work well. Photos printed with excellent quality! The scanner was fast and high quality and worked well with Epson Scan or the Windows Scanning Utility. Printing and copying of black and white documents took longer than I expected but the quality was, again, top notch! The ink is very durable proving to be smudge and water and, hopefully over time, fade resistant; however, the photos were not as scratch proof as I would have liked. The accompanying software is a nice touch for anyone who does not already have photo editing software and the monitoring and scanning software by Epson was functional withuot hogging a lot of resources.

Overall, the Epson Stylus CX8400 Color All-in-One Printer is a great model for anyone looking for an affordable printer with extras. If you don’t mind waiting for high quality prints or paging through individual pictures, this might be the printer for you!

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