Today’s photography is often viewed as a disposable commodity. What else could explain the fact that editorial and commercial budget has been reduced to a pittance of what they once were? For hobbyists and amateurs, photography is but a fleeting moment on a tiny screen often lacking a lasting connection to its subject. Part of this lack of connection comes from the shift from analog photography to digital photograph; a gap that easy-to-use, digital to analog photography products like the Epson PictureMate PM400 hope to bridge.
Features and Specs
The Epson PictureMate PM400 is billed as a personal photo lab – a simple and compact photo printer. Inside the box, Epson provides you with a sample ink cartridge, some sample 4×6 photo paper, and power plug. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. The specs of the PictureMate PM400 are as follows:
• 4-Color dye, ink.
• 5760×1440 dpi maximum print resolution
• Paper sizes: 3.5”x5”, 4”x6”, and 5”x7”
• Display: 2.7” color display
• Dimensions: 9”x6.9”x3.3”
• Weight: 4.0lbs
• Supported Memory Cards: SD/SDHC/SDXC, MiniSD, MiniSDHC, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC (with adapter)
• Connectivity: USB2.0, Wireless 802.11b/g/n, WiFi Direct (requires Epson iPrint or Creative Print apps)
Real World Review
As you’d imagine, setup is pretty straightforward – unpack, remove the security tape, install the cartridge, and power on. Once powered on, the PM400 will take a few minutes to warm up for the first time but once on you’ll be able to print straight from your camera’s SD card. WiFi direct set up is just as easy; download the Epson iPrint or Creative Print app and connect to the printers WiFi SSID.
This feature was clearly intended to maximize the printer’s portability potential. Take it to the cookout or party, plug it in, and share photos IRL.
In practice, however, it can be a bit unruly to carry the printer outside of your house. Its main hindrance is the fact that you have to find an outlet wherever you go – want to share physical snaps on the beach? Better buy a Fujifilm Instax or ZINK printer. Although the 4lbs weight of the printer isn’t much more than your typical 15-inch laptop, carrying 4lbs of printer with everything else you’re carrying for an outing is simply a turnoff.
While the PM400 may not be the most portable portable-printer, it does offer something that many other, smaller portable printers don’t – real pictures in multiple sizes. Unlike some zero-ink competitors, the PM400 uses dyes on standard photo paper providing high-resolution prints that won’t fade or easily degrade due to exposure to sunlight and air. The PM400’s ability to print 5”x7” photos may add to its bulk but it gives you the option of larger prints that other portable printers don’t. It may not seem like a deal breaker until you start wanting to start framing some of those photographs. Whether as a gift or for decorating your space, a 4”x6” print simply won’t do; that’s why the PM400’s 5”x7” print option help make it one of the most attractive portable printers available now.