Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 review: Compact all-in-one printer does it all

Provides quality wireless printing, scanning, and copying even without a computer or mobile device.

epson expression 8600
Epson
At a Glance

When it comes to photo printing in particular, I’ve had more Epson-branded hardware at home over the years than other brands, a testament to the company’s reputation for quality images that don’t break the bank. In my experience, Epson printers also tend to offer more features than the competition, and the company’s latest is no exception.

Small-in-one

At roughly 13.5 inches square and 5.6 inches tall while stored, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 is relatively compact as inkjet printers go, especially considering everything the hardware does. Despite the XP-8600’s diminutive size, the main tray holds up to 100 sheets of letter-sized plain paper (or 10 envelopes), with another 20 sheets of up to 5 x 7 photo paper in the smaller tray above. Although maxing out at 8.5 x 11 inches, the main tray can be temporarily extended to accommodate several legal-sized pages; a rear paper feed allows for longer sizes up to 44 inches.

epson expression photo xp 8600 paper tray Epson

Dual paper trays allow for 20 sheets of smaller photo paper to be loaded alongside 100 sheets of plain paper, while a large 4.3-inch touchscreen control panel enables computer-free printing and scanning.

In addition to cranking out crisp, clean monochrome or color documents and vivid photos on average, this so-called “small-in-one” also prints directly on CD and DVD discs. This trick is performed by opening the bottom paper tray, pulling out the disc tray on the right side, raising the control panel, and inserting into an optical media slot until the arrows line up.

Like many recent models, XP-8600 uses six included Epson 312 cartridges—cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta—providing high-quality prints in as little as 10 seconds. In tests with the unit idle, full-coverage 4 x 6 photos in Fine mode land in the output tray about 30 seconds after hitting the Print button.

Wireless versatility

Like other printers, the XP-8600 can be connected to Mac or PC with an optional USB cable. The all-in-one also has a larger-than-normal 4.3-inch color touchscreen on the front that makes it super easy to copy, print, or scan using an SD card or USB thumb drive. The touchscreen also makes it a snap to get connected, especially for inputting your wireless router’s password.

Wireless connectivity enables a host of other cool options, including Siri voice-activated tasks like checking ink levels and printing the last photo shot on your iPhone, or custom designs from the free Creative Print mobile app. The only snafu was when updating the firmware; our review unit complained about connecting to the internet despite repeatedly informing us there was an online update available. (We plugged the unit into a iMac 5K instead, where the update downloaded and installed without a hitch.)

epson expression photo xp 8600 disc Epson

Still burning optical discs? Epson’s XP-8600 prints directly on CDs and DVDs using a special front-loading slot.

In addition to ample printing skills, Epson XP-8600 features a 1,200-dpi flatbed scanner for making quick copies of documents and photos, or capturing digital versions of older prints. Scan quality was quite good, but the bed is only big enough for letter-sized paper and there’s no automatic document feeder. Epson’s WorkForce line is a better fit when page volume is more important than quality.

Bottom line

The Expression Photo XP-8600 isn’t the most affordable all-in-one inkjet, but the print quality, spacious touchscreen control panel, and wireless features are definitely worth the few extra bucks.

This story, "Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 review: Compact all-in-one printer does it all" was originally published by Macworld.

At a Glance
  • Designed for quickly and easily printing family photos, to-do-lists, and creative personal projects, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8600 Small-in-One Printer provides quality wireless printing, scanning, and copying even without a computer or mobile device thanks to the 4.3-inch touchscreen.

    Pros

    • Full-featured wireless printing, scanning, copying
    • Large 4.3-inch color touchscreen control panel
    • Compact form factor

    Cons

    • Higher price than competing models
    • Over-the-air firmware update issues
    • Best suited to low-volume printing, scanning
  
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