Performance

October 20, 2011 by Sarah Meyer Reads (24,444)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service & Support
    • 7
    • Print Quality
    • 10
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance / Print Speed
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Operational Costs
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.67
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

ARTISAN 837 PERFORMANCE
Setting up the Artisan 837

The set up for the Artisan 837 was quite the lengthy process in terms of the “traditional” setup time of an AIO inkjet, but Epson does include several new features on the Artisan 837.

It starts out simple enough with an included “Start Here” guide with the usual steps: unpack, plug in and turn on, select settings and install ink. Here’s where the process begins to become time consuming – it takes over seven minutes to prime the cartridges.

While the print was priming, I went ahead and loaded the paper and connected the fax cord. When it was finished, I set up the Artisan 837 over our wireless network using the control panel and then popped in the provided software CD.

Not wasting time, the first screen of the installation is asking users to select the software they’d like to install on their computer. I installed everything for the purposes of this review, but the only really “necessary” software is the Drivers and Utilities and possibly the Print CD software if you want to use that functionality.

You’ll then need to confirm your connection type. I chose the wireless connection and the wizard started guide on how to complete the wireless set up using the control panel, something I had already done so I sped through this section. However, if you don’t want to use the control panel to set up the wireless functionality, you can use a temporary USB cable (USB cable is NOT provided). Once you get through all of this, you’ll need to confirm that the wireless is indeed connected by checking for the green light on the control panel.

The wizard takes over and installs all the software, occasionally asking the user to confirm settings. A second network wizard starts up that runs through a series of checks to make sure the printer is indeed connected and you can print a test page at the end.

After all of this, you’ll be able to set up your fax at this time or you can postpone to a later date. Once you are finished with the fax setup, you’ll then be prompted to set up the Epson Connect Email feature which we’ll discuss in further detail in the “Ease of Use” section.

Ease of Use
The Epson Artisan 837 continues in the footsteps of the previous generation Artisan 835, Artisan 810 and Artisan 800 by offering more features than almost any photo printer in its class on the market as of this writing. The only features that might be missing is the film adapter unit found on the Canon Pixma MG8220 and web-connected applications we’ve seen from HP and Lexmark

Starting with the standalone features, Epson provides a large 7.8-inch touch panel with a 3.5-inch LCD for easy navigation of the Artisan 837’s four main devices – photo print, scan, copy and fax – as well as a host of features.

With the built-in card reader, users can edit and print photos from several compatible memory cards as well as PictBridge enabled digital cameras and USB flash drives. Also, use Epson’s extras to print coloring books, photo greeting cards or ruled paper.

Since Epson includes a 30-page ADF, users can scan, copy or fax large documents without the need for a PC. Simply load the document and select the device in question.

Users can also manage print, fax and network settings (and more) through the touch panel.

In order to use Epson’s new Connect Email Print service, users will need to update their firmware. If you are running a PC, like I do, this can be accomplished by selecting the Download Navigator from the Programs menu under EPSON Software. Make sure you select both Epson Connect Printer Setup and Epson Printer Finder before hitting install.

The wizard will run through its updates, etc. and then launch the Epson Connect Printer Setup. Select the appropriate printer, and then select printer registration. If you don’t already have an Epson Connect account, you’ll need to register for one. It’s fairly painless, just punch in your email address (it will be your username), then select a password, time zone, language, etc. and select register.

The Artisan 837 will then print out a page with your printer’s unique email address (similar to HP’s ePrint service). You are all set at this point. Log into Epson Connect to get information on your print log, print settings, approved senders list (a bit of security), suspend/resume service, etc.

And you can print from a variety of email services and devices. We tested the Epson Connect Print service with Gmail, Microsoft Office Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail from a PC, Blackberry, iPhone and a Droid.

For more information about compatibility, check out the Epson Connect Information page.

It’s just as easy to use any of the Artisan 837 devices from a PC once the drivers and software are installed. Like the Artisan 835, the Artisan 837 is lacking a home center, a place where all the software, status updates, user guides, etc. are rounded up; for example, Canon has their Solution Menu, Kodak has the AIO Home and HP has the Solution Center. Epson just leaves desktop shortcuts for their main programs: Epson Print CD, Epson Scan and the Epson Artisan 837 User Guide.

For whatever reason, Epson did not include the Epson Easy Photo Print application. This was also disappointing because it was an easy to use application for printing photos combining an easy search for images, editing, layout options and more.

The Artisan 837 does include self loading CD/DVD tray. Select the Print CD software to decorate the CD to your liking by adding your own photos and text or use one of Epson’s preloaded templates.

Once you have the CD/DVD ready, hit print. The CD/DVD tray will pop out above the output tray and users will need to set the CD down gently and press the CD/DVD button located below the power button. It took about a minute and a half from pressing print originally to get the finished product.

There are three scan modes: Office, Home and Professional. In Office, you can preview the scan or just scan immediately, but everything is treated like a document.

In Home, you choose what sort of image you are scanning but you have to preview the scan before scanning. But like other AIO scanners we’ve reviewed, the Artisan 837 can detect multiple images on the scanner and separate them into individual files in Home mode.

In Professional mode, users have the most options – sort of a combination of the previous two modes with more advanced scan settings.

I had some trouble getting the Epson Scan software to open with the Artisan 837. In the end, I had to uninstall it and then re-install it. Once I did that, the software worked.

When faxing, users set up default settings during the initial setup, but these can be changed by selecting the fax settings menu under the Setup main menu. I sent and received faxes without any problems to report.

As always, users can access the printer settings and maintenance through the print properties menu found in the print menu of your browser or word processor.

Print Speed and Quality Tests
Epson advertised the Artisan 837’s laser quality print speeds to be 9.6 ppm in black and white and 9.1 ppm in color and this was fairly accurate during my print tests.

The average print speed was probably closer to 8 ppm with a first page out in about 11 seconds but the Artisan 837 printed as fast as 9 ppm often during our testing. All overall times were under five minutes and the print speeds were nearly identical when printing our 40 page black and white text document or when printing our 40 page ink test (3 pages of black text, one full page of color), with the black and white text document winning slightly.

Epson does offer a draft mode with the Artisan 837. The draft mode offers quicker print speeds and reduced amount of ink used, saving the user time and money. We found the draft mode print speed to be above average (compared to other photo AIO’s in its class) at 20 ppm, but the draft mode quality is very average. It’s fairly light, making it more difficult to read but would still get the job done for rough drafts, print previews, etc.


Epson Artisan 837 standard print/scan, left, Epson Artisan 837 draft print/scan, right

The Artisan 837 redeems itself in photo print quality (which makes sense seeing as the Artisan 800 line has always got good reviews from us in this particular area). The photos were excellent; definitely lab quality frame able images. The colors were great and the resolution was great (even with our lower resolution images). The Artisan 837 even handled monochrome and sepia shots well. All the images seen below were scanned in using the Artisan 837.


Epson Artisan 837 print/scan samples

On top of that, the photo print speeds were equal to or better than nearly all the photo printers in the Artisan 837’s class (that we’ve reviewed as of this writing) but not quite as fast as advertised, photos in as fast as 10 seconds. Our 8.5 x 11 full color balloon image (below) came out in just over a minute. The Artisan 837 printed four 4×6 prints in under two minutes, at an average pace of 25 seconds a print. The fastest time we recorded was 17 seconds. Not quite as fast as advertised, photos in as fast as 10 seconds, but definitely beats all the competition.


Original digital image, left, Epson Artisan 837 print/scan, right


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