Relatively compact for an A3 printer, it has a fairly sober and pared down look. The new paper charger at the front (rather than at the back as it was on the previous generation) is a good idea and makes it easier to handle the paper with more care. You'll be able to insert fine art paper to a thickness of 1.3 mm. At the back, the printer has the hardware required to load a roll. ICC profile support means you have access to good colour management. Thanks to USB, wi-fi and ethernet connectivity, the printer can be shared between several users.
Under the hood, you'll find the new 9-colour, 8-channel print head technology - it includes a matte black and a black photo cartridge.
The control panel, illustrated below, is no longer on the top of the machine but at the front, "which frees the top up for you to put paper on," the manufacturer explained to us.
The front with its 6.3 cm colour screen
Lets not forget that the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 has been principally designed for photo prints. Nevertheless, when you're buying a high end machine you expect it to be able to handle a variety of tasks. We've therefore run it through our usual office document tests as well as the photo tests. Unfortunately its rating takes a hit here, giving just 3 pages per minute (ppm) for both colour and black and white, which is four times slower than the Epson Stylus Photo PX820FWD which gets up to 12 ppm.
Quality: excellent photo quality
As with speeds, we wanted to see what sort of quality you get from this printer for office documents. The answer is not that good. While the R3000 gives excellent photo quality, for office documents (particularly black & white), quality is compromised as you can see with its handling of the test graphic, for which it only gets a three star rating.
For the rest it gets a five however! Colour office documents are very good. For photos, the target area for this model, results definitely meet our expectations. Colours are accurate, shading faithful and even and light tones are perfectly reproduced down to the last detail. Black & white just misses being excellent, but, if you play with the print profiles a bit, you get an honourable result.
Energy consumption & noise levels: quiet
The printer consumes 3.1 watts on standby and 20 watts when printing, which is good for a laser.
What's more, it runs quietly. We measured it at 48 dB.
Cost per page
We haven't been able to get figures and a rating here. Epson wasn't able to give us ISO standard information with respect to lifespan and as we only had the machine for a short time we weren't able to carry out the tests ourselves. The Epson Stylus Photo R3000 has nine separate cartridges at £24.35 each, which means a complete set will cost £219.15. To this you need to add the cost of Fine Art paper (from £30 to £300 odd the packet). Obviously not a printer for your man in the street.
9 cartridges for 8 print heads
The two black cartridges share the same print-head phase. Going from one to the other is automatic. Changing over does however require some time (1 minute) and wastes ink needlessly.
The BX625FWD cartridge on the left and the R3000 cartridge on the right, bigger capacity.