Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet Printer Review

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Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet Printer

For the consumer wanting the flexibility of printing clean, sharp text and graphics as well as crisp, vibrant photos, today’s inkjet printers are a great choice. Although some specialty papers like those with metallic or certain vellum finishes require the toner technology of a laser printer as opposed to thermal inkjet technology, the inkjet is still the most versatile and most popular of consumer grade printers.

The staff at LCI Paper tests the different types and brands of specialty paper that we use to make our exclusive invitation offerings like envelopes, cards, pochettes, pocket folds, programs, etc. We test on a variety of inkjet and laser printers and note our recommendations on each product page. We also print sample wording and photograph many of our invitation cards, response cards, programs, and other items so that our customers can visualize how their invitations might look once they receive their blank stock purchase and print their custom wording at home. Since we print on so many different types of text weight papers and card stocks, we feel qualified to review our latest printer purchase, the Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet Printer. Our R1900 was purchased about 6 months ago and since then, has seen almost daily use.

Features

The Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet Printer is a wide-format printer capable of printing photos and documents as large as 13 inches wide and 44 inches long. Additionally, Epson lists these features and technologies:

  • Photos with a superior gloss finish
  • Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss® 2 pigment ink
  • Red and Orange inks — improved vibrancy
  • Smudge, fade and water resistant prints
  • New Radiance™ technology — optimum color gamut
  • Gallery-quality prints at faster speeds
  • Thick paper support for fine art media
  • Roll paper support for printing panoramas
  • Professional quality CD/DVD printing
  • Auto-switching Photo and Matte Black inks

On the date of this review, Epson.com’s regular price was $549.99 with a $150 mail-in rebate good in October and November 2009, making the final price $399.99. Epson’s rebate is only good for purchases at their web store. If you’re willing to deal with a mail-in rebate, it’s a better bargain than Amazon’s current price of $499.00 and no rebate. Both offer free shipping on this printer. At this price point, the target audience is probably the “prosumer” that needs the flexibility of available wide-format printing and the higher printing quality that a more expensive printer like this should provide.

Look and Feel

The Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet Printer is a good looking, sturdy unit. The paper loading tray can be folded down to cover the loading area and the paper output tray can be folded up to protect the output opening. This makes the printer a lot easier to carry and also helps protect the unit when it’s not in use.

Connections

The R1900 has two USB connectors so two computers can connect to the printer at the same time, but at this price point, the printer should have an ethernet port to connect to a router or network switch. In our office, the printer is connected by USB to a computer on our wired local area network (LAN). This enables our networked PCs to share the printer.

Drivers

Trying to use this printer with our office Macintosh computers has been a frustrating experience. We downloaded and installed the latest Mac driver from Epson’s site but were unable to access the driver to fine-tune our print settings. We could not print to the R1900 while it was connected to the PC on our LAN, and when we directly connected a Mac to the printer via USB and tried to print on a 5×7 card, it seemed the printer was working overtime. The card took longer than normal to print and came out wet and limp as if the entire surface had been coated with a clear ink. Perhaps with our inability to access the print driver, the default Quality Option was set to photo, causing the printer to cover the card with photo Gloss Optimizer. Granted, we are all very busy and have not put a lot of time into finding a solution for the Mac incompatibility, but it should not take a lot of extra work for the printer to properly work with a Mac running the recommended OS X version number and Epson’s driver for the same version.

The good news for PC users is the PC driver effectively communicates with the printer and offers all of the customization that we need. Here is a screen shot of the driver on a Windows XP machine:

Epson Stylus Photo R1900 printer driver in Windows XP

For the most part, every setting we need, including print quality, paper type, paper orientation, and custom size, can be adjusted in the interface’s Main tab. This is important as many of our customers have commented that they are unable to find the area within their specific printer driver to enter a custom paper size setting. Our research has found when this issue comes up, it is frequently associated with HP brand printers. This is not a problem here, as we simply choose User Defined and enter our custom width and height in hundredths of an inch. So for a card that is 8 inches high, we would be enter a custom value of 800 for paper height.

Printing Results

As expected, the R1900 prints wonderfully on all the types of papers, cards, and envelopes and we found the top loading paper tray is quite helpful when printing small cards or envelopes. Other ink jet printers, with front loading trays have to feed the paper up–working against gravity–and tend not to do well with smaller items.

We found text to be sharper than we were used to seeing from less expensive and older inkjet printers. We were especially pleased with the results when we printed on challenging heavyweight, textured card stocks like Japanese linen and Gmund Vice Versa. The textures of these papers are more dramatic with deeper grooves between the raised lines. Additionally, printing on lighter specialty sheets, like our Japanese Floral Sukashi vellum, was flawless.

Epson Stylus Photo R1900 sample 1 Epson Stylus Photo R1900 sample 2
Epson Stylus Photo R1900 sample 3 Epson Stylus Photo R1900 sample 4

Conclusion

From inkjet vellum all the way up to 113 lb, extra heavy, textured card stock, printing is no problem for the R1900. It consistently printed sharp text that approached the sharpness of a laser printer.

Even though it has two USB connections, a current printer at this price point should have a network adapter for shared printing. But the biggest issue is that we are not yet able to achieve satisfactory results printing from a Mac computer.

For those that do not need an ethernet connector or the ability to print from a Mac computer, the R1900 offers great text and photo printing results with the added flexibility of wide-format printing.

You may also be interested in our other inkjet printer reviews:

Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer Review – Basic Yet Versatile Printer

HP Envy 100 e-All-in-One Inkjet Printer Review – Does it print as great as it looks?

Canon Pixma iX7000 Large Format Ink Jet Printer Review

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10 Comments

  1. Melanie says:

    Did you test printing on metallic papers?

  2. josh says:

    Melanie,

    In general, we find that wet ink from an inkjet is not a good match for papers with metallic finishes. After testing our metallic papers on different inkjet printers including the R1900, we opt for laser printing with toner technology.

  3. Tricia says:

    I’ve just started to design invitations on the side. I was using Kinkos to print but now with designing wedding invitations – I am looking to buy my own printer that can handle envelopes without curling them or marking them up OR causing the ink to smear. Do you recommend this printer or have another you can recommend?

  4. Barry says:

    The R1900 is a versatile printer. I currently own one myself. I also have purchased Canon printers of various models; i9900, i950, and MP600 Pixma. I am very happy with brands from both manufacturers. The R1900 by Epson and the i9900 model by Canon, both have the flexibility of printing to tabloid plus size sheets. They produce great results for digital photography. With the gamut of colors on the i9900 model, better hues and accuracy of color matching can be achieved. Although it is an older model, Canon has updated models with the same consistency of operation. Gravity feeding printers (down and out from the tray) are always the best way to go, in order to minimize the path of the paper being used. Minimizing the path of the paper will certainly help with the curling issue concern. I would always caution that every stock needs to be tested nonetheless. Each stock has a unique characteristic of its own. Weights, texture, style of card or envelope flap, can all be determining factors in how successful a particular printer will respond. As always, running samples is the best form of a test that one could have. I hope this information is helpful.

  5. Ylinh says:

    Hi there! Have you tried to heat emboss it with embossing powder? Would it work on vellum and metallic paper?

  6. JB says:

    Hi Ylinh,

    We haven’t had the opportunity to try embossing powder so we are not sure how the ink would adhere. Regarding vellum paper, our first thought is that the paper may be too thin. We strongly recommend ordering samples (including metallic paper) to test.

    Can you explain to us how this technique would relate to an inkjet printer? Perhaps we are not clearly understanding your questions.

    If you decide to try this technique, we would love if you’d report back with your findings!

  7. Melissa says:

    The Epson website says that this printer has been discontinued and it has been replaced by the R2000. and I think that has been replaced by the R3000. Would you still recommend the 1900, if I can find it somewhere? Or should I “upgrade” to the newer models? I need custom sizes and to be able to print on specialty papers and envelopes! please advise. Thanks!

  8. JB says:

    Hi Melissa,

    You’re right that the R1900 has been discontinued. If we were in the market for a wide format printer, we would not try to seek out the R1900. Instead we’d look at the 2000 or the 3000, just for the added networking functionality. We like the ability to connect a printer directly to a network for easy sharing amongst different computers on the network.

  9. tareq says:

    did any of epson prenters can print amettal gold efect on a real paper

  10. tareq says:

    have any of epson printer can print water resistance pririntout