The EPSON Expression XP-345 is a fairly budget model that can serve as a passable home office printer. It can also copy and scan. We have no complaints with its black text printing, it’s not too slow, and it has heaps of ways to connect.
However, it really does let itself down with photo printing. We’ve seen much better options on the market for a similar price. The ink can also get pretty pricey if you’re planning on heavy colour usage due to it only being compatible with Epson cartridges.
If you’re looking to print a few documents, then this is a fine pick. If you want to do more, then look elsewhere.
The first thing that strikes you is how compact this printer is. Its dimensions are just 39 x 30 x 14 cm. For a super cheap machine, we were surprised by the build quality, expecting it to rattle around when moved, but it is actually pretty solid.
It’s no objet d’art, but it will slot away fairly inoffensively in a home office.
Standard black and white text is handled perfectly competently and rather speedily for such a low-cost machine. If you plan to have this printer on hand for office documents, CVs or student essays then it will be a fine companion. Basic colour graphs from Google Sheets were crisp too, and sample pitch documents looked professional.
However, even at 5760 x 1440dpi (lots of budget printers are just 4800 x 1440), photos are problematic. The contrast was way off during our tests and our pics looked pretty washed out. On a couple the tone seemed to change from left to white, giving a slight wave pattern. When scanning and printing in “borderless” mode (i.e. it just prints across the whole piece of paper you put in) the quality is the worst. On glossy paper and in “bordered” mode the print quality becomes acceptable. For this price, what did you expect?
It only prints single-sided, so if you’re planning to use it heavily another option might be best for you and the environment.
In terms of running cost, it has 4 separate ink cartridges. This tends to save money because you can replace each one individually rather than having to replace a combined colour cartridge as soon as one individual colour runs dry.
However, you do need to use Epson Claria Home ink which is more expensive than non-brand rivals (though there are often online specials). It works out at about 5p per page, which is middle of the road.
Scanning again is mediocre. The lines are slightly fuzzier than you would get from a top of the range scanner and pictures tend to come out slightly greyer than what you put in. The latter of these problems can be fixed pretty swiftly if you have basic photoshop skills. Apart from that, the quality isn’t too bad.
This is a workaday printer, and for functional scanning for casual business meetings it’s totally fine. For a really big pitch or for rendering pics of special occasions you are going to have to go for a more expensive model.
Connections are excellent and ease of use is the real plus point of this printer. Rarely in such a cheap printer do we see WiFi, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and email printing. Epson’s iPrint app (available for android as well as iOS) also makes printing from your phone a doodle. For scanning, you do need a USB cable though (which you have to buy yourself).
Memory card printing is included too. Most memory cards you can take directly out of your digital camera and plug straight in. A small screen on the front allows you to quickly tab through to find the picture you want to print – it’s a pretty neat feature.