Who prints photos these days? That might be the first question that pops into mind while talking about a photo printer. It’s a valid question too, given that most of us now walk around with tiny devices in our pockets that not only shoot great pics, but can store millions of them as well, and share them with anyone in the world in an instant. That said, printed photos have a charm of their own and when I got a chance to try out Epson’s PictureMate PM-520 photo printer, I gave in.
The PM-520 is a portable photo printer, and is a reasonably compact device that comes with a carry handle and a built-in rechargeable battery… so you can basically print photos anywhere, anytime. Following typical printer design, the device has an input tray at the back, and an output tray at the front. Both of these trays can be folded inwards when not needed. There’s a flip-out control panel available that has a 2.7-inch LCD display and a set of buttons for power, menu navigation etc. An SD card slot is tucked away at the front on one side, while the back of the device has a USB Type-B port for wired connectivity, along with a barrel port where the laptop-style adapter connects. The said USB port supports PictBridge as well, meaning you can connect compatible cameras to it using a cable and print out your photos.
Speaking of connectivity, that’s one aspect where the PictureMate PM-520 shines. Apart from the aforementioned wired connectivity, the device has built-in Wi-Fi, and supports various wireless printing technologies such as Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Epson’s own Connect. So apart from using a computer or a memory card, you can just fire off a print directly from your smartphone as well. Do note that this is a photo printer and can’t print on regular A4-sized paper, with the maximum paper size being limited to 5 x 7 inches.
Epson even provides smartphone apps in the form of the Epson iPrint and Epson Creative Print (available on both Android and iOS) to aid in printing photos directly off your smartphone. iPrint in fact, even lets you scan documents. You can set printing quality, specific paper size and type, and set other printer parameters before firing off a print. While it does allow you to toggle auto-correction and sharpness, I do wish iPrint offered more editing options for pictures though. Again, Creative Print is useful for when you want to get more creative and print out collages or outlines of your photos for colouring, but I couldn’t find a straightforward way of printing passport-sized photos.
The PictureMate PM-520 uses piezoelectric tech to print out sharp, vibrant-looking photos, though you do need to be a bit patient if you choose the highest print quality. Prints can take over a minute, but if you do wait, you’d be rewarded with nice-looking prints.
With the printer priced at Rs 17,799 and the ink cartridge at Rs 1,099, it’s clear that the Epson PictureMate PM-520 isn’t for everyone. While many of us would be satisfied with just using our smartphones to store and share our pictures, some would no doubt use photo printing services or the friendly neighbourhood photo studio for photo-printing requirements. However, if you’re one who likes to print out a lot of photos, and that too, reasonably frequently, the PictureMate PM-520 might be a good investment.