Setting up the Expression Home XP-410
The setup for the printer was simple and quick. There is a color fold out that goes over the basic steps: unpack, plug in and turn on, install ink, load paper and install software.
Once you pop in the CD, you’ll go through five steps: license, software, installation, setup and summary.
When you get to the connection setup and decide on wireless, you’ll have two options: you can install with a temporary USB cable (the recommended installation) or you can install using the printer’s touch panel. I chose the latter since Epson did not provide a USB cable. It was very easy and I had no problem getting the printer setup over my wireless network.
Once the printer is up and running, users that chose to set up the XP-410 over a network can install the mobile print options, Epson Connect and Google Cloud Print. The Epson Connect installation was simple for me since I already had an Epson Connect account, all I had to do was sign in.
The Google Cloud Print is slightly more complicated as the wizard opens a separate page (also where you find Apple AirPrint installation) and then you have to register your printer with your Google account. Again, for me, this was painless since I’ve already used the service and have a Google account.
Ease of Use
As I mentioned in the build and design section, the Expression Home XP-410 is nearly identical to the previous generation Expression Home XP-400. The smart touch panel, centered on a 2.5-inch LCD, is used for navigating the main devices (copy, photo print and scan) as well as secondary menus such as setup, Wi-Fi setup and help.
The photo print functionality uses the built-in card reader (there is no front side USB port) that’s compatible with several style of memory cards including SD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro.
The copy functionality is probably the easiest to use. Put your original document or image down on the scan glass, select the number of copies you want and whether you want them in color or not. You can delve down into the settings, but Epson offers the two necessary selections in the main menu.
Scanning from the printer is pretty simple to use as well. Select how where you want to scan (options include PC, email, memory card, etc.), put your original on the scan glass and hit scan. The only option that takes additional effort is setting up the scan to email.
But if you want more scan options, check out the Epson Scan software. Using Epson Scan you can choose from four modes: full auto, home mode, office mode and professional mode. Each option brings up the more common scan features for typical jobs.
If you set up the Epson Connect Email Print service during the installation, you are set to use this service and can log into Epson Connect (by heading to www.epsonconnect.com/user) to get information on your print log, print settings, approved senders list, suspend/resume service, etc.
Using Epson Connect Email Print service allows users to 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.
There is still no home center or photo print application. This bothered me more than ever because I had trouble getting the XP-410 to print a full color photo during testing and would have liked more options to try and fix the problem. I don’t understand how you can target students, moms and families without easy to use creative software options.
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 Speeds and Tests
The print speeds are still advertised as up to 8.7 ppm in black and 4.5 ppm in color and I found these numbers to be fairly accurate during our standard print tests. The Expression Home XP-410 printed our 40-page black and white text document at an average of 8 ppm with a first page out in as fast as 8 seconds. When adding color to the mix, the print speeds slowed down to an average of 4 ppm with a first page out in as fast as 16 seconds.
The Expression Home XP-410 has a draft mode and it definitely bumps up the print speeds with an average of 17 ppm, but the draft prints are a very light gray making them more difficult to read and definitely not presentation worthy. But if you aren’t worrying about bold print – think memos, recipes, receipts or directions – then the draft mode might be a good option for saving ink.
No automatic duplexing on this budget model, but it does offer manual duplexing with a handy little pop up graphic guiding users on how to correctly flip the pages.
I had issues with the photo printing; the color was washed out when printing 8.5 x 11 inch photos. I tried installing fresh cartridges, checking the nozzles and print head alignment but it would have been more helpful to have photo software where I could have tried to adjust the color accuracy. The color did get better as I moved to smaller sizes as you can see to the right.
Not to mention it took nearly seven minutes to print that 8.5 x 11-inch balloon image – and that wasn’t even in best photo mode. In best photo mode, and with no noticeable change in color accuracy, it took over 12 minutes to print.
As you can see below, it’s not terrible; it’s just not as good as what we saw from last year’s Expression Home XP-400.