Although few people have an eye for good photography, it doesn’t stop us all from clicking photographs, be it on the mobile, compact, or DLSR cameras. There is a photographer residing in each one of us, especially now that compact digital cameras featuring an 8 megapixel CCD are available for as low as Rs 5,000. Occasions such as birthdays, holidays, casual parties and outdoor events are now incomplete without a camera to capture the memories.
Photography is a hobby for many, but what do you do with your digital photo collection? Either you store them on your computer, or burn them on DVDs and show them off to friends and family on your large screen TV or a photo frame. Opting for prints is still an expensive proposition as each print can set you back around Rs. 25 when printed from a photo lab.
Well, here is a new superb concept by Epson that integrates both a digital photo frame and a personal photo printer in one single, compact package. The Epson PictureMate PM310 is the size of a toaster or a vanity hamper and features a 4 x 3 photo printer. It also doubles as a photo frame with its large 7-inch widescreen LCD display. The product is a worthy investment for those who need photo lab quality prints in the comfort and convenience of their own homes or offices.
The printer has an excellent, sturdy shell and great form factor. The top of the printer features a foldable paper input tray and a retractable handle for easy portability. A slot is provided between the handle and paper tray to accommodate the remote control unit. The front features the display panel and a detachable paper-out tray. The left side simply holds the power switch, while the right side has all the connections – the MMC card reader, which supports SD, MS, CF and xD card slots, a USB port that doubles to support a pen drive or a Bluetooth dongle, and PictBridge connectivity. The back of the printer features the power connector and the ink cartridge bay.
The shell is a bright white with a matte finish, but the display screen uses a high-gloss white case which can be easily tarnished. Overall, the printer looks good in white, but the body attracts dust and easily picks up smudges and fingerprints. The power is supplied using an external 42 Volt power brick and features a custom designed power connector for the printer, which ensures that the printer cannot be damaged by being connected using a power adapter from another gadget.
The Epson PictureMate PM 310 features a high quality photo printer that can print at a resolution of 5760 dpi. The printer uses the Variable Sized Droplet Technology coupled with Epson Claria photographic ink to give you smudge-free and water and fade resistant prints that can last almost 200 years. The printer utilizes a single ink cartridge, which houses all the four – C, M, Y, and K – ink tanks. The single four-color cartridge is beneficial to some extent, but can prove to be expensive in the long run. Installation of the cartridge is easy, but when a particular color ink runs out, the whole cartridge has to be replaced, resulting in wastage and added expense.
The printer features multiple input interfaces, including USB (PC, pen drive or PictBridge), flash cards (MMC card reader) and Bluetooth (optional, a Bluetooth dongle is required). According to the company, a compatible Epson Bluetooth dongle would be required for Bluetooth connectivity, but we managed to use a regular Bluetooth dongle and it worked just fine. You can insert a memory card from a digital camera directly into the card reader and view or print the photos immediately. We saved some photos on a USB pen drive and inserted it into the USB slot and the printer immediately popped up a message stating the number of photos found on the pen drive. After a few minutes of the printer being untouched, the display screen shows off the photos on the screen in a preset slideshow.
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