Epson Stylus Photo 1400 Ink-jet Printer

Epson’s Stylus Photo 1400 is a photo ink-jet printer that produces high-quality, borderless prints up to 13 inches by 19 inches in size. Designed to make your images pop off the page at larger print sizes, the 1400 also offers CD/DVD printing and the ability to print directly from your camera, all for $400. It isn’t the speediest photo printer, and the software for printing on discs is lacking in features, but the most important piece—the prints themselves—are rich in color fidelity and detail, and they should last for a long time with proper care.

The USB-based printer sets up in a jiffy. The six ink cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, and light magenta) snap into place, and a single CD installs the print driver, CD-printing software, and manual. A second disc includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for the Mac, a $100 value.

The Stylus Photo 1400 has one top-loading paper tray and a front-loading slot for printing on discs. In order to accommodate 13-inch wide paper, the 1400 measures more than two feet wide, but the input and output trays fold up to keep the printer’s footprint compact when it’s not in use. Borderless printing is supported on a number of paper sizes, starting at 4 inches by 6 inches. Printing without margins is as simple as choosing the Borderless option for the appropriate paper size in the Page Setup dialog box.

Getting the best prints

Print quality is Epson’s hallmark with the Stylus Photo line, and the 1400 doesn’t disappoint. I printed test pages in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Apple’s iPhoto and Aperture, and the prints were all top notch. Photos on both glossy- and matte-finish papers showed bright, true-to-life colors, with excellent shadow detail, and resistance to both scratches and moisture. And, while the 1400 really is designed as a photo printer, you can print very good quality text documents too, which makes it serviceable as a general-purpose printer.

Print quality is important, but the Stylus Photo 1400 also produces images that will last, something that will appeal to both photographers and scrapbookers. According to the print permanence experts at Wilhelm Research, Stylus Photo 1400 prints should last for more than 80 years when stored under ultraviolet glass and out of direct sunlight.

Performance and other extras

The Stylus Photo 1400 isn’t slow, but it doesn’t have the blazing print speeds found in some of the Canon and HP ink-jets. Letter-size and 8-by-10-inch prints take approximately 2 minutes in high-quality mode, and 4-by-6-inch prints about a minute; a large, 13-by-19-inch print tumbles out of the printer in about twice that time, which is more than acceptable for a printer of this type.

Ink usage was decent: I got more than 100 letter-size prints on a single set of cartridges before I had to change an ink tank. The cartridges have a higher capacity than the ones Epson uses in its less-expensive printers, but are not as large as those found on more-expensive photo printers. Even if you use the 1400 for snapshot-size prints, however, you’ll find that it uses ink more efficiently than less-expensive photo printers.

What I would have liked, however, is a better disc-printing utility than the one that comes with the printer. It is hard to use, lacks integration with iPhoto or other programs, and really isn’t of the quality level that Mac users are accustomed to. I had much more success when I turned to SmileOnMyMac’s DiscLabel (), which printed discs with ease.

jury tests
Graphics: Fine lines and gradients Superior
22MB Photoshop image quality Superior
Text quality Very Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.

timed trials
10-page Word test 4:00
1-page Word test 0:32
22MB Photoshop image 2:00
4-page PDF 1:58
22MB Photoshop Image on Super A3 3:59

Times are in minutes:seconds.

How we tested: We connected the printer via USB 2.0 to a 2.66GHz Mac Pro running OS X 10.4.8 with 1GB of RAM. We recorded the time it took the printer to print a one-page Word document and a ten-page Word document, as well as the time it took to print a 22MB Photoshop image and a four-page PDF. We then recorded the amount of time it took to print the same Photoshop image on Super A3 paper. A panel of experts examined samples of the printer’s output to rate its print quality as Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor in comparison to the output of past photo printers we’ve tested.—Macworld lab testing by Brian Chen

specifications
Print resolution 5,760 x 1,440 dpi
Connection USB 2.0
Paper sizes Letter, Legal, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, A4, 11 x 14, 12 x 12, B, A3, and Super B
Cost to replace ink/toner carts $114 ($19 each for black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light magenta)
Weight (in pounds) 25.4
Dimensions (width x depth x height, in inches) 24.2 x 31.6 x 16.3
Paper capacity 120
Special features CD/DVD printing

Macworld’s buying advice

Getting a photo ink-jet printer that produces brilliant images at sizes larger than letter-size paper has generally meant spending at least $500; if you can find one cheaper than that, it’s often at the expense of print quality. Epson’s Stylus Photo 1400 is an affordable alternative, providing great prints that last a long time, at larger sizes that can make your photos look very impressive.

[Rick LePage is Macworld’s editor at large.]

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