The display can be raised to an optimum viewing angle. Once you're familiar
with the buttons, which should take no time, you can cycle through the display
options to show thumbnails or, better yet, the full-screen image (getting rid
of the clutter) to get a clearer sense of the picture before printing. You can
also crop by hitting the Zoom button and using the cursor keys to optimally
position the image. But you can only crop in a pre-defined fashion and in pre-defined
steps. After printing, the image returns to its original proportions.
the color monitor to a comfy viewing level, play with the touchpad
to make settings and start printing, then sit back and enjoy the
ride. The two memory card slots are visible below the top panel.
While everything is fairly straightforward, the printer as a stand-alone device
is not without a few options, revealed after hitting the Menu button. First
and foremost, the Print Settings menu offers a seemingly endless array of layout
choices, ranging from borderless to wallet, proof sheet, US passport, and CD
index--all printing on 4x6. Many of these prints will have to be trimmed
and in numerous layouts some cropping is involved--so select pictures carefully.
Also found under Print Settings is photo enhancement. You can choose to switch
this feature off, but I found prints benefited from it, if subtly. For instance,
when the Landscape Enhance option was selected, landscape shots printed more
neutral (less blue). Night Scene gave the scene enhanced clarity. Print Settings
apply globally to all prints selected for output at any one time.
Under the Menu/Edit function, there is the option of black and white and sepia
printing, as well as redeye correction and rotation, brightness, saturation,
and sharpness adjustments. Edit settings can be applied to one or all images.
After printing, all Print and Edit functions default to factory settings: borderless,
standard enhance, but without rotation or other adjustments applied, so keep
that in mind when reprinting or selecting the next group of pictures for printing.
only one of the Edit functions I found myself using regularly was
rotation, which was necessary when printing from vertical shots.
Print times varied. One print from a TIFF file exceeding 70MB took as little
as 42 seconds without enhancements (my time trials usually began when I activated
printing). But I did clock a JPEG as printing at the rated 37 seconds (when
timed from the moment the paper started feeding, as Epson recommends). In fact,
I timed four vertical borderless prints (the one just mentioned included) at
3 minutes, 17 seconds total time--in Standard Enhance mode (file sizes
starting at just over 30MB). On the other hand, and inexplicably (although tonal
and detail complexity may have been a factor), some TIFF files took considerably
longer--up to 5 minutes or more.
As a CD reader, this device can be a little slow with large TIFF files, but
otherwise operates efficiently with JPEGs. It took a little over 5 minutes to
write 15 large TIFF files to CD--not bad. The beauty of the CD writer is
that you can save files from a memory card to a CD while on the road (AC operation
recommended), freeing your memory card for the next leg of the journey.
key print settings are layout and photo enhancement. The default
settings are borderless and standard enhance, which can be used
for the bulk of your printing with great satisfaction.
In the end, I was thrilled with just about every feature built into this machine,
but mostly by the output. Prints were dry to the touch and quality was very
satisfying. Granted, the prints were just a tiny bit grainier than output from
my Epson R260, but only when viewed under magnification. Contrast and color
were otherwise very pleasing. I wasn't expecting 4x6 prints I'd
hang in the Louvre; I wanted prints I could share with family and friends--and
take on my travels, and in that respect the PictureMate is a winner. Which model
should you get? Zoom adds CD capability if you need it, but at twice the price.
Personally, I'm making a mad dash to my retailer to buy the Dash version
so I can free up my desktop printers to do the job they were intended to do.
It'll be nice to have a dedicated 4x6 printer that I can easily shuttle
Type: 4x6 advanced MicroPiezo inkjet printer (one 200-series
Maximum Resolution: 5760x1440dpi
Minimum Ink Droplet Size: 3 picoliters
Additional Features: Memory card reader/writer; CD reader/writer; 3.6"
adjustable tilt color LCD
Weight: 6.6 lbs
For more information, contact Epson America, Inc., Pre-Sales Support, PO Box
93012, Long Beach, CA 90806; (800) 463-7766; www.MyPictureMate.com,