When I first got my Epson SureColor P800 a couple years ago, I was absolutely delighted with the quality. I could finally print at home! So when its successor, the P900, came along, I was intrigued. But is it worth upgrading for?
Let me start by saying that, in terms of overall quality, the P900 continues to shine. When it was released, the P800 was truly first in its class. And the P900 has only built upon that legacy.
The printer offers a variety of changes, the biggest being a quicker print process. Gone are the days of having to switch between black ink heads. Now, Epson has both Photo and Matte Black ink types, meaning there’s no having to worry about waiting for the printer to switch cartridges.
The P900 is also more compact, coming in at the same size as Epson’s previous P600 printer. For those of us without large print areas, this is welcome news.
Finally, the P900 has an updated touch screen to make printing easier and more informative. I have to be honest — I thought this was a gimmick when it was first announced. But compared to the touch screen on the P800, it’s a massive improvement.
The Epson SureColor P900 is an inkjet printer that prints at a maximum resolution of 5760-by-1440 dpi, and has a maximum print size of 17-by-22 inches for sheet media. It advertises a print speed of just under 90 seconds for an 8.5-by-11 inch sheet, and also offers borderless printing.
It comes with a 10 channel print head, which holds 10 ink cartridges. It has dedicated channels for matte black and photo black ink, meaning no switching is involved.
An optional adapter for wide roll media is also available.
Finally, the P900 offers USB 3.0, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
I was sent the P900 for review. And after I took off the thousands of tape pieces from the printer and set it up, I liked what I saw. It was sleek and smaller than my P800. It looked much more modern than other printers on the market. The touch screen was sleek and provided a ton of information. The menus interacted with what I selected on my computer during setup, making connecting to my wireless network easier than ever.
However, there were a few things I was disappointed in. For one, the paper feeding tray in the back. This is much lighter, but it seems like it’s also … cheaper. It’s very sensitive to the touch, meaning you might find yourself accidentally pushing it down without meaning to. However, Epson does say that this rear feeder will hold up to 30 sheets depending on paper thickness, so there has to be a reason behind the design of it.
If you can get past that one negative, everything else you’ll see with the P900 is a delight.
This same style of tray is in the front, but I didn’t seem to have any issues there.
Speaking of the front, the secondary fine art feeding tray found in the P800 has been removed, meaning there are just two feeding areas — one in the rear, and one in the front. If you use a paper roll, that adds another feed area in the back as well.
The biggest difference to the P800? Speed
While Epson promoted a speedier printer, the P900 absolutely blew me away. The first print — a 17-by-22 inch print on Epson’s Ultra Premium Photo Luster — took just over 5 minutes, 30 seconds. And that includes the warmup, which took all of 30 seconds to complete.
Compared to the P800, that same print, at the same settings, took 8 minutes, 20 seconds. And with the P800, the warmup took 2 minutes to complete.
So the P900, compared side-by-side with the same image, paper and settings on the P800, finished the print almost three minutes quicker. If you’re printing a bunch of photographs at once, you will certainly benefit from this speed increase.
In addition to the speed bump, the P900 is also much quieter than the P800.
Of course, the differences in quality I expected to be minor. And I was right. But what I did see throughout my prints was that the P900’s colors were slightly richer and accurate, and also provided a more pleasing saturation level.
In laymen’s terms, the reds were redder. And the blues were bluer. The greens were greener. The prints looked stunning, providing a more lifelike result to what I saw in-person.
And just like the P800, the P900 was super sharp and the prints held up well over time.
Get richer blacks with Carbon Black Driver technology
One of the things I was excited to try out was the Carbon Black Driver technology that’s new to the P900. I found this impressive. While it did increase print time by quite a bit, my black and white prints looked absolutely stunning. While I would typically print a black and white on a matte paper, printing it on a glossy sheet looks better than it ever has.
If you’re a big fan of black and whites — or even colors with rich, deep blacks present — you’re going to love this new technology.
Is it worth the upgrade?
In a word, absolutely. If you print often, the P900 will absolutely be quite the big upgrade for you. Even if you have a P800, the P900 is smaller, much quicker and the prints continue to shine.