So what is that printers can’t do today you may ask? Well, they aren’t yet designed to make calls and considering voice capability is endowed to every other device these days, we’re only happy that printers have been spared. Coming to what printers can actually do seems a better idea with a shipshape printer story more recently being incomplete without mention of the gadget’s improved connectivity and sharing prowess. Among the misconduct of printers though are their pricey accompaniments, slow wireless ability and light prints. No Epson’s PictureMate PM 235 printer that we’ve managed to lay hands on for a review is no stunner at any of these. But we can bear no malice simply because it’s a diminutive photo printer managing tasks efficiently and super pleasing to look at.
Many of our drink-happy friends thought we’d been lucky to have bagged an enhanced icebox for a thorough scanning as we took the printer out of the package. The carton contained a USB cable, a power adapter, warranty card, user guide and the Epson Install Navi CD. Painted in a clean white color, the device is very charming to look at though the slight glossy portions could have your fingerprints on it very easily. With a handle that allows you to tag the device along wherever you go, there’s Epson inscribed in grey on the front face. The printer does not however come with a rechargeable battery pack for portability and you will have to purchase it separately. For a printer, the device is definitely light at 2.2kg and the fact that its Energy Star qualified should allow you to lower your carbon footprint too.
The neat door in the front of the device was reminiscent of childhood days when everything that had a gate was a toy. As we pushed open the output tray which doesn’t need more than a gentle nudge, we saw a 4-in-1 card reader fitted neatly. It offers support for SD, xD, Pro and MS cards complete with a light to indicate the status. Right below it was the slot that supports a CF card. The top lid holds just a transparent window above the LCD. We opened it to find a very interactive 2.5” LCD screen which though small suffices the need of feature and function comprehension. What’s more, it’s designed to swivel, so you can have it raised or seated in line with the desk. The lid also serves as the opening for the paper feeder compartment. A neat line below the screen holds feather-touch buttons that should get the printer all ready for tasks ahead. These were the Power On/Off, Menu, Display, Left and Right scroll on either side of the OK button, Stop/Clear and Print. The rear side holds the PictBridge port for connection to the camera and next to it is the printer-to-PC USB port on the left while the right holds the DC inlet. Just below this is the battery compartment with the section holding the photo cartridge secured by the cartridge cover at the bottommost portion.
As soon as we switched on the printer, it was generous enough to reveal some easy settings for the computer mode. The fact that the cartridge kept blinking low already was however disappointing. The printer is USB 2.0 enabled and doesn’t eat up more than a minute of your time for set up with the PC. Hitting the menu button gave us a quick insight to the slew of features bundled in. With the ability to print 4 x 6” photographs without any pitfalls as the high spot, the Epson PictureMate PM 235 printer lets you add a personal touch to the printing options very conveniently. Configure the paper size from among the default 4 x 6” or the PhotoSticker option in Basic Print feature or choose the paper layout – Borderless, Border, 2 Per Print and 8 Per Print. We adjusted the photo quality to Enhance while you can also pick P.I.M or simply turn it off. The Standard mode in Enhance suited our needs best with People, Landscape and Night Scene being the other dibs.
We liked how we could stamp our precious memories with a date. If you must divulge in, then there’s also the free will to alter photos to B & W and Sepia modes. The printing status can be run through with the help of the Nozzle Check, Auto Cleaning, Head Alignment, Cartridge Status and Cleaning Sheet attributes. Though there’s nothing novel about the last feature, it was handy enough when cleaning the printer’s innards by simply fending a clean sheet of paper. The Setup feature interested us by the pre-print options it had in store. Right from the very functional fix red eye alternative to adding a text, the printer doesn’t slouch one bit. There is of course the choice of previewing pictures before you use the print button. Since we had the device plugged into the main power supply, the standalone settings were grayed. You can also have a screensaver playing up on the display in Auto lest you should leave the printer idle. The range to adjust the Photo Sticker print position for both Up/Down and Left/Right is between 0mm – 2.5mm.
Interestingly if you press a return when you are deep in some feature, you land right where you left off the next time you enter it. There is a Wi-Fi symbol in the Advanced settings and you can put it to use when armed with the needed adapter which we think is more of a downer. The installed Epson Easy Photo Printer version 6.60 software lets you go through the same settings via the computer as those on the device. It doesn’t require more than a minute to install on the PC and get the printer set up. If you must, you can choose to have the index prints with as many as 56 thumbnails. We liked how complete it was and there’s no denying that adding interesting effects to memorable moments is fun. Sadly though the CD bundle leaves out Epson’s Creativity suite. The simplicity has been retained to the driver interface accessible through PC too, though we would have preferred if it allowed picking between a few more settings rather than the handful.
The LCD does its job well at delivering vibrant images which will also surprise you by being how sharp they are. In a form factor akin a VHS cassette, the single cartridge handles all colors and could be high maintenance. Epson’s been smart with its use of piezoelectric technology that finds its place in this printer. The only move away is that you don’t have to wait for the cartridge to expend to take it out. You can remove and store the existing cartridge in a cooler place when not in use. Getting down to the performance, the PictureMate PM 235 printer takes near about 20 seconds to boot up which is a little too long. With the printer in its default settings, we could print a 4 x 6” photo in as quickly as 40 seconds. The very high image quality on print left us quite enthused.
In a neat fabrication and eye-pleasing design, the printer is definitely portable.
The interface is simple to understand and use both when connected to the PC and handling the printer by itself.
Simple plug and play and no complicated settings involved.
It’s designed to be portable, so Epson should have been thoughtful enough to bundle in the battery set and Bluetooth adapter rather than having the user buy it.
No accompaniments translate to a pretty penny cost per print.
The Epson PictureMate PM 235 is great for home photo printing needs and novice photo enthusiasts. It’s very tiny and cute if we may call it so form factor is only bound by duty to grab attention on those frequent round-the-world adventures. If you leave aside the small LCD and without sounding too repetitive its ignorance for in the box Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, the printer is high on performance. We peg an 8.2 out of 10 score for this printing solution.
The PM 235 bears a premium MRP of Rs 12,999.