It’s not often you find a wide-format printer that’s affordable enough for a home office or personal business, but Epson’s SureColor T5270 might just be it. Granted, it’s 10 times the price of the fanciest at-home inkjet printer or all in one, but for contract engineers, at-home designers or just small businesses that want an affordable large-format printing solution, the T5270 is a steal.
This smaller SureColor is not merely affordable. It also offers up spectacular quality thanks to the highest print resolution we saw in any of the printers we reviewed. Granted, it’s a bit slower than most and certainly smaller, but given its price, its lack of features isn’t too much of a hindrance.
In keeping with the “grows with your business” nature of Epson’s SureColor T-series lineup, the T5270 doesn’t come standard with either an onboard hard drive or an integrated scanner, but you can add either upgrade if you want them. There’s a basic paper cutter included for trimming before and after print jobs, as well as a manual sheet bypass for media that doesn’t come spooled into rolls.
As with all Epson wide formats, the T5270 is Energy Star certified and Mac compatible.
The SureColor T5270 uses pigment-based ink in its printing. Pigment inks tend to be far longer lasting than classic dye-based inks, though they’re more expensive. They’re also great on a variety of materials, including classic bond, recycled paper, and matte and satin media. Epson’s printer also supports backlit film, which is mostly used in advertising displays where big posters are lit from behind by fluorescent or LED lights.
The T5270 accepts media that’s up to 0.5 mm thick, or 19.5 mil. To be fair, most paper you print on will be far thinner than that, often less than 0.2 mm thick, but the limitation – this printer supports media just one-third the thickness of our number one pick – restricts the types of media you can insert. Many variants of cardstock, for example, are out of the question.
The first thing to know about the T5270 is that it has the highest print resolution of any large-format printer in our review, an outstanding 2880 x 1440 dpi. That calculates out to almost 4.15 million tiny little dots of ink per square inch of paper, 44 percent more than the next closest machine. A higher, denser resolution means richer colors, smoother gradients and more precise details for the price.
Granted, resolution isn’t the only contributing factor to quality; in fact, it’s not even the most important. Printers with more ink colors and a wider variety of gray inks can manage more impressive output, if you compare them side by side with a trained eye. A higher resolution makes up for that, though, especially given the printer’s extraordinarily low price. By ratcheting up the resolution, Epson delivers quality without forcing you to buy a huge variety of inks.
There’s a downside to such a high print resolution, though: a proportional drop in speed. The SureColor T5270 has a maximum printing speed – at draft-quality levels – of just 740 square feet per hour, the third slowest in our comparison. While most of your prints won’t be done at draft quality, comparing draft speeds is useful because it gives you a comparative sense of about how rapidly the printer can spool output. The takeaway: Epson’s SureColor T5270 is cheap, and that means it’s slower than most of the competition.
It’s also small, only capable of handling a single roll up to 36 inches wide. That’s fine for posters, technical drawings and smaller ad jobs, but it’s a far cry from the 64 inches of our number one pick. It’s worth noting that there are other variants of the T5270 that allow for multiple rolls, wider rolls or both. Granted, they come with commensurate increases in price.
The Epson SureColor T5270 is an entry-level option in the world of wide-format printing. It’s relatively cheap, comparatively small and somewhat limited in the media it can print to, both in terms of size and paper type. Nevertheless, we’re huge fans of what it delivers: borderless printing in the highest resolution you can find, with the option to transform the system into a multifunction printer-scanner or upgrade it with more, wider media rolls.
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