Best Buys: Portable picture printers

(National) Jan. 26, 2005 - A new Epson commercial focuses in on all the digital pictures that are being shot, but not printed. The Epson Picturemate claims with the push of a button you can get the most affordable lab-quality prints.

Consumer Reports looked at the Picturemate and six other compact photo printers, including ones from HP and Kodak with prices ranging from $150 up to $250.

A test pattern is used to assess the life of an ink cartridge and the Epson performed very well, printing more than 200 copies before going dry.

Testers also printed out snapshots to judge picture quality. Susan Daino says they found the prints were not quite as good as those from newer inkjet printers, but the quality was acceptable, "The photo quality ranged from good to excellent. Most people would be very satisfied with these pictures."

The compact, "take-anywhere" printers are convenient. The ready-to-go 4-by-6 prints mean you don't have to cut pictures from large photo sheets, which are nearly impossible to get straight.

Portable printers are fast, much faster than standard inkjet printers.

As for the $200 Epson Picturemate, it lives up to its claims and then some. It delivers quality photos at 20 cents a print. It turns out that's nine cents less than Epson's estimate.

The top-rated portable printer is from HP, the Photosmart 375. It delivers excellent photo quality for $189. The prints are pricey at about 50 cents each.

Reported by Judi Gatson
Posted 5:41pm by BrettWitt

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