Epson PictureMate Zoom PM 290 Review

The PictureMate Zoom PM 290 portable photo printer is Epson’s upgrade of its PictureMate Flash PM 280, which has been the standout portable photo printer for almost a year. By following in the footsteps of its predecessor and offering excellent print quality, fast print speeds, a great user interface, and a valuable built-in CD burner, the PictureMate Zoom allows Epson to keep the throne. This handy device truly makes the experience of printing photos fun and easy, without compromising on quality.

The PictureMate lineup has changed a lot over the years in terms of appearance, quality, and speed. While the original PictureMate was shaped like a small, rounded boom box, the Zoom’s boxy form resembles a car battery.

Despite the PictureMate Zoom’s somewhat bulky design, it’s very convenient. A large handle allows you to easily carry the printer around on trips. To set up the PictureMate Zoom, you plug it in, flip up its 3.6in LCD screen, install its single four-colour ink cartridge, and load some photo paper. Insert your photo card, choose one or more photos to print, and you’re away. Using the PictureMate Zoom’s straightforward control panel, you can apply edits to your photos, such as cropping, red-eye removal, colour effects, and so on.

The printer costs £199.99. With its built-in CD burner, the PictureMate Zoom packs a great value. A 150 sheet Picturepack, including paper and ink costs £29.49 – so the price per print works out at just under 20p. You also have the option of purchasing a rechargeable battery for £34.99.

The PictureMate Zoom beat its competitors in terms of quality as well as speed. Photos appeared crisp and clear, with accurate colours and excellent shadow detail. As for speed, the PictureMate Zoom printed a single photo in 42 seconds in my testing. By way of comparison, competing photo printers each took at least 1 minute and 20 seconds to do the same. The PictureMate Zoom is also slightly faster than the PictureMate Flash, which took 46 seconds to print a single photo.

The PictureMate Zoom comes close to a perfect rating – the main problem with its predecessor, the PictureMate Flash, was its paper-jamming issues, which we did not encounter with the PictureMate Zoom. However, the Zoom, like its predecessor, is still limited to one paper size: 4 x 6in. Nonetheless, the Zoom is an impressive device.

OUR VERDICT

The PictureMate Zoom PM 290’s improvements over its predecessor are subtle but significant. Faster, more affordable, and problem-free, the Zoom is the best portable photo printer you can currently buy.

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