If you are one of those avid photographers who love to print and share your pictures among friends and not limit yourself to sharing them over email, Facebook or any other such site, here’s a handy, portable and really good option. The Epson PictureMate 270 is a cute square box sitting on top of your desk that can churn out prints at your command.
Out of the box, the PM270 is all-inclusive: The printer, power cord, USB connection and a printer cassette mean that you’re good to go. Interestingly, after you first insert the cassette (at the back of the printer), it takes a good three and a half minutes to charge before you can begin the installation. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen with subsequent power-ups and you’re good to go immediately. Again, in spite of all the technological advances, there’s still no getting around the ‘installation’ of software or drivers: Give yourself another 15 minutes hitting the “Next”, “Agree” and “Quit” commands. That’s the installation procedure. The PM270, though, also prints directly from your memory cards or cellphones and saves you the set-up trouble.
The PM270 includes about 20 4”x6” pre-cut papers that you can place and start printing. We did experience a paper jam in the beginning, but when we fed the papers individually, it worked just fine. Printing from a computer through USB is a charm. Just feed in the settings and you are ready to go. We recommend you stick to borderless printing to get your photos.
When I tried the PM270, the print quality didn’t really leave me awestruck, but it wasn’t the worst either. The detail was good, as was the colour saturation, but sharpness in some cases was a little disappointing. The same for shadow areas. The highlights were well formed in most photos, but the darker areas did suffer. And no amount of retouching seemed to change the outcome.
Printing sans a computer
As mentioned, the true appeal of this printer lies in its DPOF (Direct Print Order Format) or Bluetooth capabilities. The DPOF component allows you to connect your camera directly to the printer: This is managed by the USB port at the back. So instead of connecting a camera to the computer, you just hook it up to the PM270. And it will show you the photos in the device to let you choose and start printing. The 3.6-inch LCD screen on top of the printer also allows you to do some basic retouching. Once loaded with paper, the top lid can be closed and a window on top can be used to view the LCD to keep track of your prints. The buttons on the top of the printer are simple and allow for foolproof navigation and printing.
A printer such as this is good for those who love to shoot and sample their photos before going in for a professional output. At approximately Rs11,500, it isn’t the cheapest around, but it’s still a good quick-look solution.
The portability of the PM270 cannot be emphasized enough. Just close all lids and you can carry it around like a lunch box…be a bit more careful with this, though!
The supplied cartridge is good for about 120 prints in average settings (an ‘enhanced’ setting gives out more detail in a photo but also takes longer—almost twice as long) to print and uses a lot more ink). One of the biggest limitations of this printer is the paper size. Nothing larger than a 4”x6” photo can be printed.
So if your need is framing or gifting photos or making larger than average prints, this isn’t for you.