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Epson Expression Photo XP-970 printer review

The Epson Expression Photo XP-970 dishes out A3 large print at high quality while keeping the price low.

Epson Expression Photo XP-970
(Image: © Epson)

Our Verdict

The Epson Expression Photo XP-970 is a large format printer capable of A3 prints on all types of paper and more. It's affordably priced, offers great quality photo prints and is easy to use with wireless features. It could be a little faster but at this size and price it's difficult to complain.

For

  • Excellent print quality for photos
  • Affordably priced
  • Good design and build
  • Six inks

Against

  • Not very fast

The Epson Expression Photo XP-970 is the printer of choice if you're after A3 size page prints but without a budget busting price. Did we also mention this offers high-quality photo printing? Yup, this really does a lot for the price and that's why we've put it in our best photo printers guide.

All the latest WiFi features are onboard with mobile printing from tablets and smartphones. Plus this boasts support for all sorts of specialty paper, and even label printing for CDs and DVDs. 

For all its benefits, the XP-970 is decidedly not portable. Weighing 19.4 pounds and measuring 18.9 x 14 x 5.8 inches in its most compact configuration, it’s a stationary printer, and the lack of any battery option means you’re tied to wall power. That said, it’s not much larger than a standard home inkjet printer and has a much smaller footprint than the other large-format photo printers out there. It is also easier to move, since other large-format printers tip the scales at closer to 30 or 40 pounds.

The real appeal for quality fans is its use of six inks that combine to create lush and vibrant colors. With the ability to print true-to-life images and an all-in-one design that adds photo-grade scan and copy capability, the Epson Expression Photo XP-970 is one of the best printers for photos we've reviewed.

Epson Expression Photo XP-970 review: Print quality

The Epson XP-970 distinguished itself in our photo printing tests with exceptional print quality – colors were vivid and well-balanced, and flesh tones looked natural and true to life. With 5760 x 1440 resolution, the printer recreates precise detail, and it offers borderless printing in all supported print sizes. 

Epson Expression Photo XP-970

(Image credit: Epson)

In our testing, whether we printed 4 x 6 snapshots or large-format 8 x 10 photos, the inking was consistent and error free. When compared side-by-side with the competition, the XP-970’s prints consistently wowed us.

Photos also printed relatively fast. When printing 4 x 6 photos, it took an average of 68 seconds per print, just over one minute per photo. However, large-format prints clocked in at an average of 154 seconds each, which is more than half a minute faster than competing large-format printers.

Epson Expression Photo XP-970 review: Features

With six ink cartridges – black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta – the Epson XP-970 is better equipped to produce true-to-life color than the average four-color inkjet printer, and it more than holds its own against the eight-cartridge printers we tested. 

This top-rated photo printer can print up to 11 x 17 inch pictures. That’s more than large enough for all of your snapshots and scrapbook photos and even full-page portraits, but if you plan to make larger prints for framing, it is a tad limited compared to other large-format printers out there.

With support for photo paper of every kind – gloss, semi-gloss and matte – as well as brochure paper, scrapbook paper, iron-on transfer, self-adhesive sheets and plain old printer paper, it’s pretty versatile. There’s also a dedicated tray for printing CD and DVD labels directly onto discs.

The Epson Expression Photo XP-970 has the added distinction of offering scan and copy capabilities, thanks to a built-in flatbed scanner. The photo-friendly design has a two-piece hinged lid that lets you position a photo on the scanner, close the lid halfway and reposition the photo as necessary without opening it all the way. The Epson XP-970 also comes with scan and copy features.

Epson Expression Photo XP-970

(Image credit: Epson)

The printer can be used to print from a PC or standalone, printing from PictBridge-enabled cameras and directly from a variety of media card formats, including SD, SDHC and SDXC; MemoryStick Duo; and Compact Flash. 

Connecting to the printer via Ethernet, USB or Wi-Fi is all relatively simple, and you can print from mobile devices using Epson’s iPrint app.

Epson Expression Photo XP-970 review: Price and warranty

At $2.27 per milliliter, the ink it uses is just a little more expensive than that of the other art printers we reviewed. Even at that price, it’s more cost effective than the smaller snapshot printers in our review, which cost between 30 cents and 50 cents per photo. If you need to print in any sort of volume, this is a good photo printer to choose.

The printer itself is cheaper than a lot of the competition and when you consider the versatility of this all-in-one that makes the price even more impressive.

Epson Expression Photo XP-970

(Image credit: Epson)

Epson covers the Expression Photo XP-970 with a one-year warranty, which is standard for the category. The company offers tech support services through phone and email, as well as live chat on the Epson website. An online user manual lets you look up features and functions, while FAQs help you learn about the printer and solve common problems.

Should I buy the Epson Expression Photo XP-970?

The Epson Expression Photo XP-970 earns top marks thanks to its excellent print quality, wide variety of advanced features, and support for storage and media that far surpasses the average photo-friendly inkjet printer. 

If you’re serious about your photos and want to print great-quality pictures in a wide range of sizes, the Epson Expression Photo XP-970 delivers without being too expensive or complex for the casual user. It’s the best printer for photos we reviewed.