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article imageEpson Stylus Photo 900: Printing on More than Just Paper

By Mike Drach     Nov 4, 2003 in Technology
The $300 Epson Stylus Photo 900 prints excellent-looking photographs quickly and quietly, and lets you print directly onto CDs and DVDs.
The new Epson Stylus Photo 900 is an affordable photo printer that produces excellent photographs. And as a bonus, it may be the only $300 printer out there capable of printing directly onto CDs and DVDs, an extremely cool feature if you’re into making personalized mixes.
The 900 uses several print modes, allowing you to cut down on ink and printing time, if that’s a concern. However, this printer can churn out some amazing-looking graphics and photos, and it’s faster than most of its predecessors. With its five colour cartridges and 4-picolitre droplet size that can achieve a maximum resolution of 5760 x 720 dpi, the 900 is very good at capturing subtle details, especially on high-quality photo paper.
Another professional-style feature is the ability to print photographs from a roll of paper, which lets you continuously spew out up to 200 photos at a time. You can create borderless prints on a variety of paper sizes, including 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 and 8.5x11 inches.
Although it prints quickly (and extremely quietly) for photos, it’s a little bit slow when it comes to text. But if you have another backup printer for that purpose alone, the 900 is worth the cost just for photos and CD-Rs.
Eliminating the need for adhesive labels, which can be annoying, expensive and potentially damaging to your disc, the 900 includes a tray that keeps the CD or DVD in position while it feeds it into the paper path. To load the media tray, you’ll need a bit of space behind the unit to manouevre, so you can’t place the printer directly against your wall. Align the tray, slide it into the printer, snap the thickness lever to the correct setting and in about five minutes, you’ve got a fairly professional-looking image on your homespun mix or movie.
This requires special printable CDs and DVDs (the 900 can print on white or metallic disks), which are becoming widely available and cost only a few cents more than the regular CDRs. The results aren't always incredible, but it looks far better than a misaligned sticker with air pockets bubbling under it — and with your own text and graphic designs, could potentially come out a lot better than your local indie band’s efforts.
The printer comes with Epson Print CD, which easily and effectively lets you create your own artwork. It comes with some clip art and templates, but you can import any graphics you want.
The 900 offers PRINT Image matching (PIM) and Exif support, so you can make prints automatically from PIM- and Exif 2.2-enabled cameras. There are no camera memory slots on the actual printer, however.
It has an attractive, metallic grey design and is fairly compact: While configured for printing, it measures 19.4 x 21.5 x 11.9 inches, and weighs in at about 15 pounds. Optional accessories include Epson’s Bluetooth Print Adapter and the external EpsonNet 802.11b Wireless Print Server.
The 900 is available at retailers nationwide, as well as online.
More about Printers, Epson