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Epson Expression Home XP-430 review: Do-it-all budget printer is a perfect fit for tight spaces

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Every inch of space is essential for modern desks cluttered with devices, charges, and accessories. And unless you're a productivity powerhouse or operating a business out of your home, there's no reason why you need a giant printer taking up half your work space.

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8.0

Epson Expression Home XP-430

The Good

Along with remote printing, the space-saving Epson XP-430 "Small-in-One" can also print from a variety of mobile devices including iOS, Android and Amazon Fire tablets. It features reliable output quality and a large color screen for making simple photo edits before sending a job through.

The Bad

It doesn't offer two-sided printing and the cost per page for the ink cartridges is slightly higher than average.

The Bottom Line

The Epson Expression Home XP-430 combines reliable do-it-all multifunction printing and a space-saving design at an ultra-affordable price.

Epson XP-430 (pictures)

See all photos

That's why the Epson Expression Home XP-430 multifunction printer is great for families and students: with a compact form factor and trays that fold into the device when it's not being used, it really earns its "Small-in-One" nickname. The fact that it can print from nearly any device -- PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Chromebooks -- amps up the convenience factor. And the low price -- it lists for $100, £90 and AU$129, but is available online for less -- clinches the deal.

Design

The XP-430 replaces 2015's XP-420 -- which we loved for the price -- and has a very similar list of features but boosts the size of the color display and updates the ink cartridges to Epson's new model 288 tanks. The DuraBrite Ultra Inks work to reduce smudges immediately after you print a document or a photo and actually adds a bit of water resistance on both plain and glossy photo paper.

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Epson's XP-430 is a combination ink-jet printer and scanner with a small form factor.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like the previous model, the XP-430's space-saving design is the machine's main focus, measuring just 15.4 inches wide, 20.8 inches deep, and 11 inches tall (39.1 x 52.8 x 28 cm) when the printer is ready for action: that's with both paper trays fully extended; when they're closed, you can fit the printer into a space that measures just 15.4 inches wide, 11.8 inches deep, and 5.7 inches tall in storage (39.1 x 30 x 14.5 cm).

Epson XP-430

Price as reviewed (US) $99.99 MSRP, $70 online
Price as reviewed (UK: XP-432) £90 MSRP, £50 online
Price as reviewed (Australia) AU$129 MSRP
Dimensions in Inches (Width x Depth x Height) 15.4" x 20.8" x 11.0" (39.1 x 52.8 x 28 cm)
Functions Print/Copy/Scan
Inks 4-ink tank (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)
Automatic 2-sided printing (duplexer) No
Automatic Document Feeder No
Memory Card Reader Yes
Connectivity USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Airprint, Google Cloud Print, Epson Remote Print, Epson E-mail Print
Paper Input Tray Capacity 100 Sheets
Display 2.7" (6.9 cm) Color LCD

The paper input tray can hold 100 sheets of plain paper, but it's able to accept all different kinds of paper including Epson's own Iron-on Cool Peel Transfer Paper, Ultra Premium Presentation paper, and more. There's no auto-document feeder for batch copying and scanning, but I wouldn't expect a $99 device to include one anyway.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Regardless, 100 sheets is certainly a suitable capacity for the average student or office worker, but small businesses looking for a high-volume printer will probably want to step up to a larger unit like the ET-2550 EcoTank that also happens to feature DIY ink refills.

The center control panel sits within a console that rotates up to view the 2.7-inch (6.9 cm) mono LCD display at a suitable viewing angle. Though I usually prefer printers that use mechanical buttons, I like that the XP-430's directional buttons have a tactile click so you know when a press is registered.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The front has a memory card reader that lets you walk up and print from an SD card without actually touching a computer. Unlike previous models, however, you don't have an open USB input to connect a flash drive; if you want to upload your photos, you'll need to do so by extracting your SD card from the camera and popping it into the machine. That's not a big deal either, especially now that Epson now offers one-touch photo uploads to Facebook and cloud-based services.

You can preview your photos on the LCD and even make simple adjustments to crop dimensions, resize, or perform one-button touch-ups.

Features and setup

Epson gives you the option to connect the printer to your computer using direct USB (you need to supply the cable), Wi-Fi or -- if your router supports it -- Wi-Fi Direct.

Smart setup on the touch panel is a two-part process: turn on the machine and click Network Setting, then designate your wireless network and enter its password, and that's it. The entire setup from start to finish, with a connection established on our lab network (which uses a home-style Verizon Fios router) took us less than 5 minutes.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The installation process also includes a step that asks if you want the system to automatically hunt and install firmware updates, and we recommend you click "yes" when prompted; the appeal of Web-connected printers like the XP-420 means you don't have to wait for Epson to ship you software updates, so take advantage of it.

Connecting through Wi-Fi also means you can take advantage of Epson's host of free mobile printing apps that let you print directly from mobile devices. First, the Epson iPrint application for iOS and Android devices lets you to print Web pages, photos, documents and anything else on a smartphone directly to the printer.

You can also take advantage of remote printing from any Chrome browser window using Google Cloud Print, or connect immediately to any iOS device using Apple AirPrint. Check out our how-to page to learn more about cloud printing. Epson also has its own Email Print and Remote Print systems as well.

Inks

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The XP-430 is powered internally by three separate color ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow) and an additional black ink that saves you the hassle and money of replacing a tricolor ink tank. I did the math (in US dollars) based on Epson's high-capacity XL ink cartridges, which offer more ink capacity at a discounted price, and a page of color ink works out to just over 3.8 cents per page, while a high-capacity black cartridge comes to approximately 6.2 cents per page.

Unfortunately, those prices are slightly higher than the XP-420 and also more than the competing Brother MFC-J460DW, another budget-friendly all-in-one printer with cartridges that will only set you back 3.5 cents for color and 5 cents for black pages. But the price break on the Brother's consumables cost is ameliorated by its larger overall size, small 1.8-inch (4.6 cm) LCD display -- and the fact that it costs almost twice as much as the XP-430.

Performance

The XP-430 registered similar throughput scores as the XP-420 with about 8.5 pages of black text per minute. Color text and graphics documents are a different story, though, and its speed consistently lagged behind the Brother MFC-460DW on those jobs, although you might not notice much of a difference unless you're sitting over the machine waiting for the job to come out. Either way, we've come to expect impressive throughput results from Epson and these speed tests prove that the XP-430 can handle handle medium- to high-volume jobs with minimum latency.

The XP-430 did great with our output quality tests as well. With clean lines even in tiny fonts and clear marks across the page, we'd have no problem recommending this device for printing work hand-outs and full-color graphics documents. You'll need to temper your expectations for snapshot photos if you're used to seeing large-format quality prints, but the XP-430 is well-equipped to print frame-worthy shots of you and your loved ones.

Alternatives

The XP-430 sits in the middle of the 2016 Epson Expression line.

The XP-330 is the least expensive printer in the line but drops the size of the color screen down to 1.44"

The XP-630 promises better photo printing with a 5-ink cartridge bay, adds double-sided printing and CD/DVD printing

The XP-830 adds a fax machine to print, copy, and scan functionality, an Ethernet port and a larger touchscreen display

Note that Epson also has a more office-oriented WorkForce line, which includes similar (but larger) color printers such as the WF-2750, which starts around $100.

And, of course, you can always consult CNET's current list of best printers.

A good printer at a great price

The upgrades on the Epson Expression XP-430 over the previous model are pretty insignificant (you probably won't notice the 0.2-inch display size increase), so if you can pick up the XP-420 for less, you should go for it. Either way, though, this small-in-one will be a strong partner for professionals, families, and students with light to medium color printing needs who will appreciate its ability to print from nearly any mobile device currently on the market. With remote e-mail printing and relatively inexpensive ink cartridge refills added to the list, the XP-430 is a good deal.

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8.0

Epson Expression Home XP-430

Score Breakdown

Value 8Features 8Performance 8Design 8