Epson Expression Premium XP-7100: a low-cost photo printer

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The Expression Premium XP-7100 prints in excellent photo quality on any media.

Epson Expression Premium XP-7100

MSRP $239.99

“Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 delivers incredible photos on par with much more expensive models.”


  • Great photo printer
  • Fast color prints
  • Compact size
  • Low Price
  • Support for thumb drives and SD cards

The Cons of Using

  • Cost-per-page high for color
  • 300 dpi mobile scans
  • Envelope printing failed

Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 is an all-in-one printer that’s optimized for photos, but sale prices place it in the budget category. With a price tag of $150, we were curious to see how well it would perform as a photo printer. This cartridge-based printer was also tested for its speed, ease-of-use, and long-term cost to see if it offered enough quality and value.

You can also Design Your Own

Epson's Expression Premium XP-7100 has shiny black faceted sides
Alan Truly/Digital trends

The XP-7100’s black color matches its premium aspirations and would fit in nicely in a home photo studio. White is a common color for home printers intended for casual use to better blend into the decor.

I don’t mind the textured black top, and the shiny faceted corners look nice. It’s also compact, particularly for an all-in-one printer that includes an automatic document feeder (ADF). With the ADF panel opened for scanning, it is only 8.1″ tall. You need to lift the cover in order to get at the flatbed scanner.

The footprint of the Expression Premium XP-7100 is 15.24″ wide by 14.5″ long when all trays have been closed. Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 has a clever output tray that automatically extends while printing. The large, 4.3-inch touchscreen panel tilts up automatically at the same. This increases the length of the device to 23.5 in.

There’s a USB port at the front for easy walk-up printing and scanning via a thumb drive. Memory cards can be inserted into the slot. It accepts SD, SDHC SDXC and microSD.

Walk up printing with a USB drive is easy with the Expression Premium XP-7100.
With the Expression Premium XP-7100, walk-up printing using a USB is simple. Tracey Truly/Digital Trends

The main tray is extremely thin and tucks into the bottom. This multi-functional device is also remarkably compact. It’s completely removable, holds 100 sheets of paper up to 14 inches long, has a built-in photo tray, and includes a holder to print directly on CDs and DVDs. The rear of the machine is where envelopes and specialty papers are loaded.

Epson packed in a lot of features into a compact space. This compact design is a good size, but does it deliver on quality and speed?

Printing performance

I compared draft and best quality prints on the Expression Premium XP-7100.
I compared the best and draft quality prints on Expression Premium XP-7100. Tracey Truly/Digital Trends

The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 produced impressive results during testing. I tested borderless full-page printing, 4×6 photo printing, and plain paper printing of a variety of pictures. The quality of images is good, even when printed on plain paper.

It’s no surprise that Epson knows how to build a great photo printer, but I wrongly assumed there could be some tradeoff in quality at such a low price. The Expression Premium XP-7100 uses a five-color Claria Premium ink system that’s nearly a match for Epson’s six-color variety.

A professional photographer might notice the difference, but it was a challenge for my eyes to detect the slightly better color fidelity of Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500, a six-color premium photo printer. That’s a much more expensive printer, but the ink tank savings would add up over time for a heavy user.

In black and white, the printouts are crisp. Monochrome printing is fast, at 15,8 pages per minutes. It also supports double-sided print. Color doesn’t lag too far behind, rolling through 11 pages in a minute.

If you’re short on time, don’t be afraid to try “draft mode” photos. Draft mode photos lose some detail, but they look nearly as good as the normal print quality.

When printing multiple copies, it’s worth checking if the draft mode is good enough since it saves ink and prints much faster. I’m not sure I’d ever select the highest quality for such stunning photo prints. A 4×6 is finished in just 12 seconds and looks great.

I couldn't print an envelope with the Expression Premium XP-7100.
I couldn’t print an envelope with the Expression Premium XP-7100. Tracey Truly Digital Trends

The compact paper feed seems reliable, but two 4×6 photo papers were pulled through at a time. This didn’t affect printing and could be because of higher humidity and the inherent stickiness of photo paper. Only the envelope test let me down. I simply couldn’t get an envelope to print correctly after three tries. If I find a solution, I’ll update this article.

This isn’t an ideal office printer; it’s a photo printer. Laser printers are often better than inkjets if you need reliable and fast printing for documents, labels, and envelopes. Despite the envelope issue, overall print speed and quality was among the best.

Special Features

Despite the compact size, the document feeder is quick and reliable.
Despite its small size, the document feed is reliable and fast. Alan Truly/Digital trends

Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 can be used as a printer, scanner and color copy machine. The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 is a great printer and copier, but its scanning capabilities are lacking, at least in the way that I use scanners.

The Epson iPrint App was necessary to scan images onto a mobile phone. This is an older app, and it only supports up to 300 dots per inch (dpi), which doesn’t provide enough quality if you crop in on a scan. If you scan to a USB thumb drive, an SD card, or a computer, there’s an option for 600 dpi resolution.

The thumb drive and memory card options are important for me since my computer isn’t near the printer. It seems that the lack of high resolution scanning in this app is an oversight. Epson updates the iPrint application, and the most recent update happened just a few months ago. Maybe the fix for higher scan density will come with a future update.

Epson has given the Expression Premium XP-7100 a good document feeder for a printer that is low-profile. The ADF was able to scan several pages, including double-sided ones, with ease and reliability. It can scan up to 30 sheets at once. Flatbed scanners are quick and easy to use. They make it simple to copy documents.

Software compatibility

Don't forget to shake the Expression Premium XP-7100's largest cartridge.
Don’t forget to shake the Expression Premium XP-7100’s largest cartridge. Tracey Truly/Digital Trends

Installing ink cartridges, and aligning print heads are the first steps of the Epson Expression premium XP-7100 setup. That’s pretty standard for inkjet printers, though some make use of the scanner to automate and speed up the alignment process.

Epson’s documentation cautions that you should gently shake the largest cartridge, which is black, before installation. It’s a detail that’s easily missed and could cause printing problems.

This is a photo-printer, so there are five ink types, including the standard cyan, magenta and yellow. There’s also a photo black which works better when printing pictures.

Epson's Expression Premium XP-7100 requires four color cartridges and one black.
Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 requires four color cartridges and one black. Tracey Truly/Digital Trends

Epson provides a plastic bag for storing the ink caps which need to be removed. You may get messy so make sure you roll your sleeves up before beginning.

After installation, it takes the printer a couple of minutes to prepare an ink cartridge. Next, I connected to Wi-Fi. Epson doesn’t mention a mobile app in its quick start guide, so I connected manually. Since my printer is upstairs, I used my router’s longer-range 2.4GHz band.

The connection via Mac or Windows is quick and simple. You’ll need to install Epson apps to access every feature, but for printing, you can use system software.

You can print from an iPhone without using an app. I installed Epson Print Enabler on Android which acts as a driver. For the scanner to work, I found that I needed Epson iPrint. This app gives you greater control over your printing. The printer is capable of handling documents and photos without any problems, so the only thing you need to do with the app is scan and monitor ink levels.


Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 retails at $240 but is available for less than $150 from multiple retailers. This makes the initial cost of such a high quality photo printer and multi-function device very low.

The most important factor to consider when purchasing cartridge-based printers is the cost of ink over time. Four color cartridges are available for $48.29. This is enough to print about 300 pages of color documents. Color printing costs as little as 16 cents a page.

Epson states that four cartridges with high capacity can last up to 650 printed pages. It comes to $75.96. That brings the average cost of a colored document down to 12 cents. That’s better, but still expensive.

Black-and-white printing costs between 4 and 5 cents per page, but as a photo printer, I wouldn’t use much black ink.

This printer is for you.

Epson’s Expression Premium XP-7100 can print beautiful photos quickly and handles most monochrome printing tasks well. The flatbed and document feed work well with thumb drives, memory cards, and computers.

If you need to do medium to high-volume photo printing, the Expression Premium XP-7100 will get expensive in a hurry since Epson’s Premium Claria ink cartridges are relatively costly for low-yield ink cartridges that require four to print in color and one for monochrome.

The printer is a well-designed and made product, but there are some flaws when it comes printing envelopes or scanning to a smartphone.

Overall, I am impressed with the quality of the prints, but wish that the cost per page were lower. It’s a great choice for a photography enthusiast who wants to occasionally print their best pictures to share with friends and family. Another photo printer may be better suited to your needs if you plan on printing in color every day or making a lot of color copies.

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