The Good Tons of features; fast with 4x6 prints; USB port can be used to connect PictBridge devices, as well as flash drives, hard drives, and even USB CD/DVD burners for printing or transferring images; reasonable per-print costs; large LCD with lots of viewing options; easy to use.
The Bad Disappointing print quality.
The Bottom Line The Epson PictureMate Dash printer is impressive in every way except for print quality.
|Epson PictureMate Dash PM260||Lexmark P350 portable photo printer||Samsung photo printers||Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 printer||Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2|
|Price||$300 Amazon Marketplace||$123 Amazon.com||$180 MSRP||$167 Amazon Marketplace||$147 Amazon.com|
Epson PictureMate Dash PM260
The Epson PictureMate Dash is the lower-end offering from Epson's 2007 refresh of the PictureMate snapshot printer line. At $100, it's $50 cheaper than the 2006 low-end offering, and it's faster to boot. (The 2007 line has only two models; the 2006 line had three.) As we played with the printer, we had really high hopes: It's jam-packed with great features, it's easy to use, and it blew away the $100 competition in CNET Labs' speed test. But (and it's a big but), the picture quality was very disappointing. If you're after the most features in a snapshot printer, this is the one you should get--just go into it knowing you won't get the best prints available. If you can afford to spend more (as in, double), we loved the HP Photosmart A826--just make sure you'll really use it before spending $200.
The Epson PictureMate Dash (PM260) looks a lot like its predecessors, the PictureMates Pal, Snap, and Flash. It stands 13.6 inches wide, 9.1 inches deep, and 8.7 inches tall, and weighs just 5.3 pounds. Although it has traded the all-silver look for a white-and-dark-gray exterior, it retains the high-tech picnic basket look with a pivoting handle and lid. The lid opens to reveal the control panel, and also serves as the input support for photo paper. A panel on the front opens to catch prints.
One big improvement over last year's PictureMate lineup is the huge 3.6-inch LCD that flips up. This is larger than the LCD on the Flash, which was last year's high-end model. The onboard control panel consists of a menu button; four direction keys and an OK button for navigating the menus; a zoom button; a thumbnail display key; and stop and start buttons. Two memory card slots are mounted on the front and accept most major types, though some will require an adapter (not included). The printer also offers a USB port for connecting PictBridge devices, storage drives, and an optional Bluetooth adapter, but it's located in the back. Because the printer is small, it's not difficult to turn it around to access the USB port, but it would be more convenient to have it on the front of the printer.
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