Epson SureColor P600 review

If you seek terrific coloring, Epson’s SureColor P600 delivers the hues

With its new ink system, Epson’s SureColor P600 is an excellent choice for the serious photographer.
With its new ink system, Epson’s SureColor P600 is an excellent choice for the serious photographer.
With its new ink system, Epson’s SureColor P600 is an excellent choice for the serious photographer.

Highs

  • Excellent color accuracy and saturation
  • Extensive media handling, including roll paper
  • Black inks great for monochrome and color prints

Lows

  • Limited to 13 inches
  • Must manually cut prints off roll paper
  • Pricey inks

The SureColor P600 ($800) is Epson’s latest “prosumer” photo printer. It offers exceptional support for various media up to 13 inches, and uses Epson’s newly formulated UltraChrome HD inks in nine colors – four of which are blacks and grays – to produce terrific color and monochrome prints.

Features and design

The printer itself is fairly nondescript. When not in use, it’s simply a glossy, textured black rectangular box. The controls are located on the right side of the front-panel, where you’ll find a 2.7-inch color touch screen. This display is used to set up the printer and Wi-Fi, load media and roll paper, check ink levels, and perform maintenance functions such as nozzle checks and printhead cleaning.

No wide-format printer is light in weight or svelte, and the P600 will need a lot of desk space or even a table of its own (it measures 24.2 x 32 x 16.7 inches). At 35 pounds, the weight is manageable and we were able to move and unpack the printer single-handedly.

The P600 has three paper feeds – two of which are located at the rear of the printer. The primary paper tray holds up to 120 sheets of plain paper or 30 sheets of photo paper up to 13 inches wide. The second rear paper feed is used when you want to print on roll paper. There are two paper holders included in the packaging, and these are placed on either end of the paper roll, which it then attached to the printer; a door in the rear-panel opens up to feed the paper, which is activated via the touchscreen.

The third paper feed is exposed when you pull down the front-panel, which also exposes the output tray. This single-sheet feeder is for heavier art and specialty papers. It is also where you feed the included tray used for printing on printable optical media (blank CDs and DVDs).

The nine 25.9ml UltraChrome HD pigment-based inks include Photo B­lack, Matte Black, Light Black, Light Light Black (yes, there are two “lights”), Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, and Light Magenta. This wide range of ink colors gives the P600 an excellent color gamut.

The printer automatically switches between the Photo Black and Matte Black depending upon what driver and paper settings are used. Prices for the inks are $32 each (retail price). With specialty photo printers, it’s difficult to estimate yields because it depends on how many of prints of differing sizes and what the images are, and that varies from user to user. An average 8 x 10 is going to cost between $1 and $2 per print, and a 13 x 17 inch print can average from about $3 and up, depending on the paper being used. Since there are nine cartridges to replace, cost for supplies will add up over time.

As for connectivity, the P600 supports USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct. The printer is also compatible with Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Epson Connect, and Epson iPrint mobile app

What’s in the box

Besides the printer, you get nine starter ink cartridges, CDs for Windows and Mac OS X installation, a power cord, roll paper holders, and a special tray to print on printable CDs and DVDs

Warranty

Epson provides a one-year limited warranty. Optional are extended service plans that cost $120 (one year) and $236 (two years).

Performance and use

As with most modern printers, setting up the P600 is easy. After inserting the ink cartridges, the printer primes the ink for about 10 minutes. We connected it using Wi-Fi, and since it supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), pairing it with our home network involved some simple button pushes on the printer and a Netgear Nighthawk X6 router/access point. The installation disc loaded Epson’s Professional Drivers and the Print CD utility for printing blank discs; we’ve used Epson’s utility to print on optical media, and while it does an okay job, we prefer Surething’s CD Labeler application.

The wide range of ink colors gives the P600 an excellent color gamut.

Because wide-format photo printers are generally slow, we didn’t test the P600’s print speed. After all, this machine is for making beautiful photos and graphics (max resolution of 5,760 x 1,440 dpi), not multi-page book reports, so we don’t see it as a con. Printing a large Super B (13 x 19 inch) image can take five minutes or more, while an 8 x 10 print can take a minute or two. It all depends on what paper and driver settings are being used; it’s not uncommon to wait 20-30 minutes, if you’re using the best paper and RAW image files. If the printer has to switch between Photo and Matte Blacks, you need to add another minute or so to the time. You’re definitely trading speed for great quality, and we’re finding the P600 is just as fast as Canon’s Pixma Pro-1.

Image quality is impressive and matched the reference prints we produced on a calibrated Stylus Pro 3880, which we use as our reference printer. (We used Epson’s Premium Photo Paper Glossy and Premium Presentation Paper Matte.) Because the P600 uses a newer ink system, the prints have a slight visual pop in color that we like. Of course, if color accuracy is more important than visual appeal, the driver has extensive color adjustment capability. And, if you own a spectrocolorimeter like an X-Rite ColorMunki or DataColor Spyder, you can precisely calibrate the printer to a specific batch of paper.

Additionally, having all those black colors does two things: the monochrome prints we generated look great, and on both the color and monochrome prints there’s excellent definition in shadowed areas where detail just doesn’t fade into the background.

Conclusion

With its extensive media-handling capability and excellent print quality, the P600 is an excellent companion to a high-end prosumer camera kit. If we must nit-pick about something, it’s the lack of a roll paper cutter that slices the print off the roll when finished and the 13-inch limitation of paper width. Other than these very minor complaints, Epson’s newest offering for the serious photographer is an excellent choice. If you need to make larger prints, the next step up in Epson’s photo line is the Stylus Pro 3880, which does not have roll paper or CD/DVD print capability but can print on 17-inch wide media.

Highs

  • Excellent color accuracy and saturation
  • Extensive media handling, including roll paper
  • Black inks great for monochrome and color prints

Lows

  • Limited to 13 inches
  • Must manually cut prints off roll paper
  • Pricey inks
Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Mobile

Avoid scratches and dents with the 20 best iPhone 8 Plus cases

So you've got a new iPhone? Congrats! But with a glass design, and looks to die for, you'd best keep it safe. Not sure about the best case choice? Check out our guide to the best iPhone 8 Plus cases for some great ideas.
Emerging Tech

3D printers are better and more affordable. These are the best of 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

Using A.I., Lightroom can now boost the resolution of RAW photos

Need to eek a bit more resolution out of a RAW file? Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw can help with a new feature called Detail Enhance. The tool uses A.I. in the demosaicing process to enhance details and reduce artifacts.
Photography

Corel VideoStudio adds tools for customizing color in simple video edits

VideoStudio is Corel's more consumer-oriented video editor but the software recently gained advanced color correction tools. The update adds custom transitions, along with speeding up performance, and adding new shortcuts.
Photography

Tight on space? Here’s how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer

Never lose any of your cherished selfies or family vacation photos from your iPhone again by learning how to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer, whether you want to use a cable or wireless transfer.
Computing

500px reveals almost 15 million users are caught up in security breach

Almost 15 million members of portfolio website 500px have been caught up in a security breach. The hack occurred in 2018 but was only discovered last week. Users are being told to change their 500px password as soon as possible.
Photography

Olympus packs an enormous zoom ability in its latest interchangeable lens

The Olympus Digital ED M.Zuiko 12-200mm F/3.5-6.3 has the widest zoom range of any interchangeable lens with a 16.6x zoom. The lens, which covers a 24-400mm equivalent, is also weather sealed.
Photography

Nikon brings a classic workhorse lens to the Z series with new 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The Nikon Z series finally has a bright zoom available without an adapter. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S offers new coatings and more customizable controls in a smaller, lighter body than the comparable F-mount lens.
Photography

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.
Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.
Photography

Fujifilm’s X-T30 is a semi-pro, feature-rich camera that’s affordable to boot

Fujifilm's newest mirrorless camera delivers the premium features of the X-T3 without the premium price, giving aspiring enthusiasts a lower-cost option that can still match the image quality of Fuji's flagship.