Epson's Stylus Office T1100 is the company's cheapest A3-capable inkjet printer and is targeted at small to medium offices. It doesn't offer the print quality of more expensive photo printers, but it can print quickly, easily enlarges A4 documents and is inexpensive to run.
As you would expect for a device that can accept A3+ media, the Epson Stylus Office T1100 is quite sizeable. Sadly, Epson has gone with a rear paper tray instead of the more common front paper cassette. This greatly increases the printer’s overall height — 400mm with the tray fully extended — and reduces placement options.
Unless you have a print server, network printing is also out of the question; the Epson Stylus Office T1100 only offers a USB 2.0 connection. This won’t be an issue if you only need to connect a dedicated design computer, but it is an extra hassle if you wish to print from multiple computers.
The Stylus Office T1100 A3+ inkjet printer uses Epson’s 73HN and 103 ink consumables — the same used in the Stylus Office TX510FN multifunction — making this printer extremely affordable to run. Based on Epson's page yields — 1610 A4 pages per set of five high-yield inks — the printer costs roughly 11.3c per A4 page. Real world ink usage is likely to yield fewer pages, especially when taking printer maintenance tasks into account, but it's still cheaper to run than A3-capable inkjet printers from HP and Brother.
In our tests, the Epson Stylus Office T1100 printed draft A4 monochrome documents at a rate of 17.2 pages per minute and draft A4 colour documents at 9ppm. Though slower than the HP Officejet 7000 in draft print tests, the Stylus Office T1100 didn't handle pages as roughly as the HP. In normal quality mode, documents printed at 13.2ppm (monochrome) and 4.2ppm (colour).
A3 documents took roughly double the time of their A4 counterparts; normal quality monochrome documents printed at a rate of 6.2ppm while colour documents printed at a rate of 4ppm.
Photo printing is generally slow. Our test 4x6in photo took 1min 12sec to print, while an A4 photo took 2min 53sec. We waited 4min 31sec for the same photo to print in A3, which is a far cry from the 2min it took the HP Officejet 7000 Wide Format inkjet printer to produce the same photo.
The Epson Stylus Office T1100 A3+ has a major advantage over some of its competitors: it can scale A4 documents. Unlike the Officejet 7000 Wide Format, Epson’s print driver has a scaling option that directly interfaces with the printer, unlike those options available in Microsoft Word or similar applications. The result is a much clearer and higher quality enlargement that retains all of the detail of the A4 original.
Unfortunately, it isn't all good news when it comes to print quality. Though documents are accurate, colours in graphics and text highlights appear oversaturated and inky. Photo colours are much better when using Epson-branded paper, though there is some noise, particularly in gradients. Monochrome photo quality isn't fantastic either; even when using Epson's suggested photo paper we noticed a red hue in our test black and white photo which reduces detail and darkness levels.
For the occasional photo, the Epson Stylus Office T1100 A3+ inkjet printer does the job, but its key strengths lie are printing professional documents and scaling A4 material. Inexpensive consumables are certainly a key advantage, too, though we wish Epson included an Ethernet port for networked offices.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.