Epson Expression Home XP-412 review

Inkjet technology has improved a lot in the last couple of years, and we’ve seen a number of high-end inkjet printers recently that provide speed and quality that rival laser printers for small business users.

However, inkjet printers are still the best option for home users who simply need an affordable printer for occasional use. We’ve always liked Epson’s compact ‘small in one’ printers that are specifically designed for use at home, and the latest addition to the range is the Expression Home XP-412

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The XP-412 squeezes lots of features into a very compact design

The XP-412 costs just £89.99 if you buy it direct from Epson, and we’ve seen it at around £70.00 at a number of other online stores too. The printer measures just 145mm high, 390mm wide and 300mm deep, so it’s easy to sit the printer on a shelf or on a desk alongside your Mac. The XP-412 model is black, but there’s also a white model called the XP-415 that has the same specification and price, and might be a better match for most current Mac models. 

It’s not the most sophisticated printer on the market, but it has all the basic features that home users are likely to need. As well as its 1440x5760dpi printing resolution, the XP-412 also includes a 1200x2400dpi scanner and copier, and 100-sheet, rear-loading paper tray. It provides both USB and wifi connections, and supports AirPrint for iOS devices. 

The XP-412 uses the four standard cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, and produces very good results for a printer in this price range. Text output isn’t quite as crisp and smooth as that of a laser printer, or some of the high-end inkjet models that we’ve seen recently, but it’s perfectly adequate for printing out the occasional letter or school report for the kids. The only minor disappointment here is that it doesn’t support two-side printing. 

Graphics and photos are very good too, although the XP-412’s one real weakness is its relatively modest printing speed. Epson quotes speeds of 33 pages per minute for mono text and 15 pages per minute for colour, but those speeds are based on its ‘fast economy’ printing mode, which doesn’t provide very good quality. Using its ‘normal’ mode in our tests we got speeds of just 7ppm for mono and 4ppm for text, as well as a rather sluggish 3.5 minutes to print a 4x6 photo on glossy photo paper. 

Even so, those speeds will still be adequate for most home users with light printing needs. The same is also true of the printer’s running costs. You can get a multipack containing the largest XL size cartridges for all four colours for £52.00, and this will last for 470 mono pages and 450 colour pages. That works out at 2.7p per page for mono and 8.7p per page for colour – which aren’t the lowest prices around, but are still acceptable for light use at home.

OUR VERDICT

The XP-412 could certainly be faster, and lacks a few useful options such as two-sided printing. However, it’s a compact and affordable printer that provides good quality and reasonable running costs, and is a good option for home users who only need to print occasional documents or photos.

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