So to recap, I am comparing two home printers, putting them to the test, and have been for the last three months. The printers are the HP Envy 5530 (£59 from John Lewis) – follow the link for the full original review. The second is the Epson Ecotank L355 (£199.99 from John Lewis) All-In-One Wireless Printer with High Capacity Tank System & 2 years ink supply included.
In my previous post, I looked at the convenience, cost and design. In this post I am going to explore the print quality between the models, speed, the all important smudge test and my overall conclusions.
Ok, so the next tests, I preformed on both models were using the same laptop so it was a direct comparison. I also used the same paper, and settings, they were alongside one another in my office, so they were in the same conditions.
Overall I wanted to comment on speed between the two, as there was a marked difference, both in higher quality printing and draft. In all cases I found the HP Envy to be much quicker, sometimes when timed it took as much as half the time to print a page. The HP actually seemed more responsive too. A couple of times, I had to cancel the printing halfway though, and the HP seemed to react much quicker than the Epson.
The first main test, was a simple print of a one page recipe, in both normal and draft quality.
This was the HP Envy : Normal to the left and draft to the right of the page.
There was a difference between the two, especially in the colours and photo quality, but also in the text quality. Both were acceptable, and fit for purpose though. I think in the normal mode especially, you could really see that the photograph of the cheesecake was great, the colours rich and had depth.
The Epson : Again normal mode to the left and draft to the right.
Overall the colours lacked depth with the Epson, the cheesecake image was very flat and grainy even in normal mode. In draft and normal mode both the photographs and text was very much paler and very pixellated compared to the HP printer.
I then wanted to look at a longer document, to see if there were differences between those.
It was an 8 page document, that contained photographs, plans of house dimensions and text. The difference between the HP Envy and the Epson Eco Tank in normal printing mode were marked, as you can see below.
Much richer colours in text and the photographs with the HP Envy, you would have actually had thought I printed the HP in ‘Best’ and the Epson in ‘Draft’ mode they were so different!
I then looked at same document but in draft mode. A mode most families would use I think when they need to print off something quickly, an email, or flight details or itinerary even, to keep for reference.
I just wanted to point out that I didn’t alter these images at all, or edit them, other than adding the text. I also closed my living room blind, so the light was even as I wanted the tests to be fair.
There are two things I think to point out here. On the top image yes it is MUCH darker, but you can see also lines running vertically across the page, this was throughout the document. Both the text, room dimensions and images were readable, and dark throughout.
The second print out is much lighter, very faded in fact and pixellated, this again was the same throughout, to the point that the room dimension drawings especially were only partly legible. Quite disappointed in this result actually, I think I would be really annoyed if this was the quality I received from my printer.
We all know how annoying it is to print off a set photographs only for them to smudge as you take them out, no matter how carefully you do it. So using advanced photo paper, I tested out each of these printers, by wiping a dry finger over each of them as they printed. Neither smudged…hurrah!
So how about if your image got damp or wet?
It was quite hard to photograph this, but I got a wet tissue and wiped it in the same place on a photograph, that had been printed using the best quality setting. There wasn’t much smudging in either, but the colour run was more evident (an orange/brown smudge) in the image at the bottom, which was the Epson printer, this surprised me actually, as the image looked much duller than the HP Envy result, and I’d actually thought maybe it would smudge very easily, but this wasn’t the case!
As you can see I did lots of testing, I also did a fade test, leaving out two print outs on a window sill for a couple of weeks, but there was no clear difference between the two, so haven’t included those images.
So overall what do I think of these printers?
I honestly think that the results, including the information I mentioned in my previous post about pricing, speaks for itself. Not only is the Epson printer not as good quality when its prints, at least it wasn’t in any of the tests I conducted, it also seems very expensive to buy. Even if the ink did last for a full two years, as the Epson says it will, it’s still is much more expensive.