Affordable large-format printing.
Aimed at the design and amateur photographic markets, the Artisan 1430 is more affordable than Epson’s A3+ Stylus Photo models. While the saving comes with a loss of features, the 1430 still does a respectable job .
To start with, it uses Epson’s Claria six-ink system, not the eight or nine inks used in the upmarket models, and while USB and 802.11n Wi-Fi are standard, it lacks an Ethernet interface. (There’s also WPS Wi-Fi support to allow setup without a temporary USB connection, though you’ve probably disabled that feature on your router following the discovery of a serious vulnerability in the protocol.)
The software bundle comprises the drivers, utilities, documentation, a CD/DVD label printing application and a program for printing photos in various formats (we suspect most people will use Photoshop Elements or similar). Direct printing from iOS and Android devices is supported via the Epson iPrint app, as well as from PictBridge-enabled cameras.
The first page of our business document printed in 34sec, with page two emerging in another 25sec. Just over 2ppm sounds slow, but the relatively small overhead for the first page means small jobs are finished almost as quickly as they are on nominally faster printers. We slightly preferred the Artisan’s plain paper results to those of the considerably more expensive Stylus Photo R2000 or Canon Pixma Pro-1.
Our test photo took 1:11min to print on 10x15cm paper, 2:43min on A4, and 5:05min on A3+ (329x483mm; Epson Premium Glossy paper, rather than the Ultra Glossy used in other sizes). While the Artisan gave better results than the home and office inkjets we’ve tested recently, it didn’t quite match the R2000 or the Pro-1. Unless you’re unusually demanding, you’ll be happy with the fine detail, realistic-looking colour, smooth gradations and reasonable price.
Available from Epson, retailing for $350.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)