Epson Stylus Office B1100 full review

Able to print not just to A3 but also larger A3+ (329x483mm) paper, the Epson Stylus Office B1100 is a versatile colour inkjet printer. And, at just under £200, it's reasonably priced for a large format printer.

The Epson Stylus Office B1100 needs a lot of deskspace. Size aside, though, it closely resembles a typical Epson printer, with a fairly sturdy 120-sheet (20 pages of glossy paper) input tray built into the top. Perhaps a little surprisingly, given the office angle, the B1100 doesn't come with built in Ethernet, so you'll need to buy extras should you wish to add this directly to a network.

The Epson Stylus Office B1100 needs five separate cartridges (two of them black), and uses Epson's DURABrite Ultra system for generating precise but long-lived smudge-proof prints. The B1100 comes with the promise of laser-like print speeds, and the fastest modes claim over 30ppm and 17ppm for black and colour respectively.

Tested on A4-size prints, even the Epson Stylus Office B1100's highest text speed was actually only 15.3ppm, and the characters here were faint and ill-defined. To actually get good text, you have to be prepared to drop to an un-laserlike 2.3ppm - and even here, compared to a typical laser, the lettering is fuzzy. Nonetheless, this performance is decent for an inkjet.

The Epson Stylus Office B1100 is good at colour though. Ignore the excessively faint fastest mode (5.4ppm) and go to the next quality setting, giving good colour and detail at a reasonable 2.5ppm. The best quality settings (although the results here are only marginally superior to those of the already realistic and vivid 2.5ppm prints) will see speed drop to 0.5-0.9ppm.

In standard A3, the fastest mode outputs at 2.9ppm with colour graphics, although you'll want to sacrifice a little speed and opt for the next mode up, for a still palatable 1.3ppm.

The best colour prints need a little over two minutes, although the 1.3ppm mode still produces images flush with detail. Colours aren't as precise as A4, but the results are still very close. Many A3 printers struggle to scale images for use with the larger print size, but the Epson Stylus Office B1100 takes good care of this.

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