Epson Stylus Pro 4000

Fast, reliable 17″-wide desktop printer

The 7-color, 2880×1440 dpi Epson Stylus Pro 4000 raises the bar for professional graphic printing. It also stretches the definition of the term “desktop” printer: It’s a solid 84 lbs at 33.4″ (W)x14″ (H)x30″ (D). It’s well designed, with new print head nozzles that are now automatically cleaned, calibrated, and aligned and able to produce droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters. The most significant new feature is that the Stylus Pro 4000 houses both matte and photo black ink cartridges, freeing the user to print on either matte or glossy papers without swapping out cartridges, purging the lines, and wasting ink, time, and money.

Setup and installation is easy using the well-illustrated setup pamphlet, quick reference, printer guide, and QuickTime movies included. The Stylus Pro 4000 interfaces with USB 1.1, 2.0, FireWire, or optional 10/100 BaseT Ethernet card. It ships with eight 110-ml standard ultrachrome ink cartridges and can also use the larger, more economical 220-ml cartridges. The ultrachrome ink’s gamut is comparable to dye-based ink. The Stylus Pro 4000 handles 17″ roll and sheet paper, allows full-bleed borderless printing, and will take paper stock up to 1.5 mm thick, without choking.

Print quality on both matte and glossy paper is first-class: rich blacks with wonderful detail in both shadow and highlights. Colors were accurate and well saturated with no visible problems with metamerism. The packaged paper profiles are the best I’ve seen from Epson, but of course, all bets are off if your monitor isn’t calibrated. The two caveats are that there’s still noticeable bronzing with Premium Luster and that black-and-white prints had a detectable warm tone. When tested against the Epson 7600, the 4000 was 40% faster with no discernible difference in print quality.

This printer is totally reliable–not one problem. If your production doesn’t demand prints larger than 17×22″, the Epson Stylus Pro 4000 is an incredible bargain.

PRICE: $1,795
FOR: 9 and X
FROM: Seiko Epson Corporation
PHONE: 800-463-7766