The Perfect Family Printer: Epson Artisan 730 Review

Upload from July 06, 2012

All-in-one printers have come a long way in recent years. They’re packed with practical features, small in size, deliver high quality results, and most importantly, are super affordable!

We recently picked up an Epson Artisan 730. We have a larger professional Epson 3880 that we use for client prints and higher quality work. With the Artisan 730 we were looking for a light work office printer that could also fill in with good quality 4×6 photo prints and some quick scanning if necessary. We’ve had the printer for about a month now and so far it’s been awesome!

If you’re looking for a new home office / family printer then read on to find out more about the Artisan 730.

You can check out a minute-long commercial of the printer below. Warning: It’s cheesy.

Features You’ll Love

Essentials

As with most all-in-one printers the Artisan 730 features document printing (letter & legal), photo printing (4×6, 5×7, 8×10), scanning (2400dpi), and multiple ink cartridges so you only replace what you need (pretty much the standard now).

Something to keep in mind about an all-in-one is that you’re not going to get the best of everything in one machine. Individual machines exist that are better at document printing, document scanning, photo printing, and photo scanning. But having a well rounded all-in-one can really help fill in the gaps, and prevent you from needing 4 different machines in your home!

WiFi Connectivity

I love not having to use printer cables! This printer connects to your home WiFi network to allow printing from any computer connected to the network. This is a super useful feature, and again something that is becoming more common with all-in-one printers.

iPhone and iPad App

You can download a free app by Epson (Epson iPrint) that will allow you to print photos directly from your phone. You can do this natively without the app, but you have a bit more control using the app (print size, crop, quality, border). You can also control the scanner, and check the ink levels right from the app. This sort of thing usually seems like a gimmick, but the Epson iPrint app is well done, and definitely makes the printer more useful!

Dual Paper Holder

This is another big convenience feature. The paper holder can hold both photo paper (4×6 or 5×7) along regular letter paper at the same time. This means you don’t have to be constantly changing the paper, and are more likely to print a photo whenever you feel like it! Now, if you want to print on 8×10 photo paper, than you will need to swap out the letter size paper.

Other holder related features: it can also print on both sides of the sheet and has an integrated CD tray for direct printing to CDs and DVDs. The nice thing about all this is that it’s really easy to use and can hold a decent amount of paper!

Now I did put the photo paper in upside down the first time, resulting in a rather messy print. In fairness there was a very obvious illustration on the tray showing how to load the paper, which I ignored. :)

Memory Card Readers

The printer has an integrated compact flash, SD, and xD memory card reader along with a USB port to connect memory cards and cameras for direct printing. I haven’t used this feature because it doesn’t appear that the printer supports printing directly from RAW files (which is the file format we typically shoot in). For anyone trying to print photos from their point and shoot cameras, I’m sure this will be a useful feature!

Tiltable Touch Panel

It’s not just the screen that tilts but rather the whole control panel. The menu is easy to navigate and the buttons are well laid out. It’s a nice feature but you probably won’t have to use this much unless you’re printing directly from a memory card, or using the scan/copy function.

Upload from July 06, 2012

Sheet catcher out and touch panel on and tilted up.

Print Quality

For document printing the quality is decent. You won’t want to print your master’s thesis on a machine like this—save that for a laser printer. For typical home office type use (movie tickets, boarding passes, what else do you print these days?) it works well.

Happily, the photo prints look great. I’ve really only been making 4×6 prints on some old Canon glossy paper but the results are impressive. The colours are bright and the image is sharp. The image below consists of four 4×6 prints. I have no doubt that the quality is better than most consumer print labs.

Upload from July 06, 2012

Some sample 4×6 prints. Good color and sharpness!

The photo prints are a bit on the cool side, but that could be the result of not using Epson paper.

Black & White

One thing that I did notice is that black and white photos look a bit off compared to the digital file. They don’t seem as rich in tone and contrast as they could be. They also appear a tad cool (blue). The problem with doing black and white prints on a printer like this is that it only has one black and white ink cartridge. On a professional printer (like the Epson 3880 for example) you have several different ink cartridges specifically for black and white printing (light black, light light black, photo black, and matte black).

That said the black and white prints are decent enough, but if you’re looking to do a lot of high quality black and white printing then you’ll want to check out a different printer (like the Epson Stylus Pro 3880, or Epson Stylus Photo R3000).

Profiles

Another thing to mention is that professional level printers often have color profiles for various types of paper. Paper manufacturers (including Epson) will create these profiles so that the color of the prints is as accurate as possible with different types of paper. Since the Artisan 730 is a consumer level printer, you won’t find these color profiles. This basically just means you won’t be able to accurately proof your photos the way you could with a color calibrated monitor and printer profiles. I don’t see this being a huge deal, since you can’t really expect that kind of support for a cheaper consumer level printer like the 730. It’s not meant for professional level printing!

Note: I haven’t used the scanner yet so I can’t comment on the scanning quality.

Other Notes About The Printer

Setup

Setup was really easy. It went something like this:

  • Took it out of the box
  • Took
    all the plastic wrap off
  • Inserted the ink cartridges
  • Loaded some paper
  • Put in our wireless network password
  • The printer was automatically detected by my computer and I think I was given the option to automatically install a printer driver.
  • The printer had to do an initialization after which it was ready to print.

Setup time was probably 15-20 minutes, and it was ready to go.

Print Speed

Epson claims the printer has the world’s fastest 4×6 print speed at something like 10 seconds. If you’re printing from a computer you’ll see speeds like that, but if you’re printing from your iPhone it seems to take quite a bit longer (30-40 seconds when I counted).

Price of Ink

Epson makes both standard capacity and high capacity ink cartridges compatible with this printer. I haven’t used all the ink yet so I can’t comment on how quickly it goes through it. You can buy a 5 pack of the high capacity color cartridges for $50 on Amazon, so $10 a cartridge). You can buy the color cartridges individually for about $13. The black ink cartridge is a bit more expensive around $16.

I’ll probably consider buying generic ink cartridges for this printer. I haven’t done much research yet in terms which generic cartridges will work best, but since this printer is for light office work and fast 4x6s I’m less concerned about quality (as long is it doesn’t wreck the machine!). If you have any suggestions for where to find good generic ink leave them in the comments!

Epson Artisan 730 vs. Epson Artisan 837

Epson makes a slightly beefier version of this printer called the Artisan 837. The difference between the 730 (reviewed above) and the 837 is that the 837 has a built in document feeder that allows you to do high speed copying and fax. Unless those are priorities then go with the cheaper 730 model.

Recommended by Apple

It’s worth noting that the Epson Artisan 730 is one of the printers suggested at checkout by Apple when you’re buying a computer from apple.com or apple.ca. All the computers in our home/office are Mac and compatibility with this printer has been great!

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a printer for your family or home office then you won’t be disappointed by this all-in-one. If you’re a hobbyist photographer, you’ll love how quickly you can produce great looking 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10 prints. Professional photographers won’t want to use this for client work (for photo printing I mean) but for office use and quick consumer level prints it’s a pretty awesome machine!

Where To Buy

The printer is regularly priced at $199 but sometimes you can find it on sale for as much as half off!

Buy the Epson Artisan 730 from Amazon.com

Buy the Epson Artisan 730 from B&H

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!

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Comments

17 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for the info! I've been looking around for a good all-around printer that can print solid photos! I don't know if you can answer this, but can you recommend a brand of photo paper to use with this printer? I want something really good…

  2. Hey Christine!

    I usually use Epson Ultra Premium Luster Photo Paper (which would be compatible with this printer). The luster finish is a nice mix between glossy and matte.

    There are other third party paper options if you print with a pro level printer (like the 3880), but since the Artisan 730 doesn't support paper profiles you'll probably see the best results using Epson paper (and switching the media type in the print dialoge accordingly).

  3. Christine says:

    Great! Thank you! FYI: So happy I discovered you guys! You rock! : )

  4. Santiago says:

    Thank you for sharing. I've been undecided about purchasing an All-in-One Printer for a long time already. Given that you guys use for light work, it makes my decision less difficult.
    Great review!

  5. I’ve been buying cheap ink from http://www.1ink.com for years. Never have I been disappointed or had a problem. If you order $50 then there is no shipping. Once you order from them, they send you a coupon for 15% off. Really!

    I phoned them today to say I had bought this printer; I am returning all my unused ink for a full credit and then will be purchasing more for this new printer.

    And, get this: When you call them, someone actually answers the phone! Amazing!

  6. Nice to see the new range of epson printers now come with iphone and ipad apps

  7. Marjorca Reynolds says:

    Please, you MUST be kidding! Epson Artisan 730. This is the worst printer I have used in 25 years! Epson diagnosed my new one as faulty. Epson promptly replaced it with a ‘refurbished’ model (their customer warranty policy). The replacement I received from Epson is NOW being diagnosed as ‘faulty’ – same problems. Chronic, constant paper jams, erratic printing of photos (the first printer would not print 4″ x 6″ prints from the tray) poor text document print quality, very poorly designed paper-feed, gobbles up ink like there’s no tomorrow. Do not buy this printer.

    • Hi Marjorca! Sorry to hear about your experience with the printer. We haven’t had any of the problems you mentioned and we’re still on our first set of ink (even after doing quite a bit of photo printing! It’s the best multi-printer we’ve ever used!

  8. Luisa Katz says:

    Worst printer ever! Don’t buy it. I’m a Photographer and bought this printer, blurry pictures, blurry words, the colors don’t match, very slow. Wouldn’t recommend it for the world!

  9. Avoid by all means. Ink cartridges don’t last long. Get almost constant messages: Paper out or paper in the main tray, or paper size is incorrect. Check paper size settings or clear the jam.

    • Sorry to hear about your experience. We’ve been using the printer for over a year now. We use it as a light office printer with regular 4×6 photo prints. We’ve only had to replace the ink cartridges once (just last month) and have never seen an error message. It’s been a great printer for us!

  10. Surprised to hear the negative comments on this printer. I have had one for over a year now and had no problems with it. I have printed many photos on both 6×4 and A4 size papers and all have been sharp as a tack. The only error message I have ever had was an ‘out of paper’ message, and that was only because it was! Ink usage was what you would expect when printing photos, considering the size of the cartridges.
    After setting it up, every device I have connects wirelessly to it….PC, MacBook Pro, iPad, Android tablet. Unit scans and copy’s well.
    There is only two things I can complain about and they are both minor.
    1. The printer can’t take paper larger than A4. I would like to be able to feed paper into it to print pano images.
    2. Printing of cd/DVD is not as easy as my much older Canon.
    As I say, minor quibbles. Not bad enough to not recommend the 730.

  11. I have the epson 730 and it can be color managed by paper, if your working inside of photoshop before you print don’t let the printer color management, let adobe and use the papers ICC color profile to the paper your using to print onto. Just wanted to clarify that you can infact use any paper just download the ICC profile and install them. You can also proof the colors to which ever paper your using so you can have an idea of what your final print will look like.

  12. Sherri Bastow says:

    How can I tell which ink cartridge to replace. It says 98/99 I have one 98’the rest are 99. Which 99 do I replace?

    Epson artisan 730 printer

  13. Clicked over to this article after your home office post and was excited about getting a photo printer to send clients a few shots with their USB’s. Sadly, this printer has been discontinued since your post (makes sense after 5 years). B&H no longer sells it and Amazon has it listed for over $500!
    Time to do some research. Thank you for the push to finally get a photo printer in-home. I hate receiving photos in the mail and finding the colors are off.

  14. CLAIRE WHEELER says:

    HORRIBLE PRINTER!!! HOLDS MY DOCUMENTS HOSTAGE. WILL NOT LET ME OVER RIDE ITS DEMAND FOR INK EVEN WHEN I DO NOT NEED IT. I WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT. IT CAUSED ME TO LOSE A DOCUMENT I HAD WORKED TWO HOURS ON BECAUSE I WOULD NOT ORDEER INK FROM THEM. PENNY WISE/ POUND FOOLISH. WILL NEVER BUY EPSON PRODUCT AGAIN

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