This compact inkjet printer gives nice results.....
Epson PictureMate PM240
Epson is one of the longest-standing inkjet printer manufacturers, and its PictureMate line of compact models is popular with the enthusiast. The latest models, including the PM240 here, sport a silver shell with a neat, protective lid.
Beneath the PictureMate PM240’s sleek exterior is a specification to match its futuristic appearance. There’s a 5760x1440dpi resolution, 2-picolitre minimum droplet size, and input options that include PictBridge, memory card slots and Bluetooth via an optional adaptor. You can even use it to print directly from an external hard-drive, CD drive or flash drive for all-round versatility and, of course, you can ‘hard wire’ it to a USB-enabled PC.
As a standalone inkjet printer, the PM240 can turn out a borderless 6x4in print in a shade over 45 seconds. A generous flip-up 2.5in LCD screen gives you a reasonable preview of your images with access to numerous editing options – including black and white and sepia effects. The results are good, with rich, vibrant colours when you want them and subtle, smoothly gradating tones when you don’t. Fine detail is picked out well and you have to get pretty close to the print surface to see any tell-tale inkjet ‘dots’.
There is a price to pay for this, though, and with Epson’s 150-sheet Picturepack, a 6x4in print will cost just under 20p. This isn’t too bad compared to other compact inkjet printers, but if you opt for the 50-sheet refill the per-print cost rises to almost 27p – quite a bit more than online and high street lab prices, but that’s the premium you pay for an ‘immediate’ print service.
You can also use the PM240 to produce 16:9 panoramic prints on Epson’s new ‘widescreen’ paper, but at present this paper has to be bought separately. While this may change, for the time being you’ll be left with an excess of postcard-sized paper from your refill kit and achieve fewer prints from the cartridge.
The Epson PM240 costs a little more than some compact printers, but the image quality is good and ultimately it’s a case of ‘getting what you pay for’. It’s a shame Epson can’t throw in a USB cable for the money, but as the PM240 is really designed as a standalone unit, this is forgivable. There’s also an optional battery pack for truly portable printing.