Targeted more at the consumer electronics user than the PC user, the DS700 is an inkjet-based printer that can print directly from a digital camera or from memory cards. Hooking it up to a TV screen via its composite video-out port reveals a neat interface that lets you print photos easily from a memory card with the settings you choose. It can also initiate a slide show of all the photos on the card.
- Competitive print per dollar ratio
- Relatively poor print quality
This unit has plenty of features and is intuitive to use. As a printer for the user who wants to print independently of a PC, it does quite well. However, its print quality in our tests was not as good across the board as competitive Epson and HP printers.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
In addition, the printer has a remote control so you can view your photos and print them out without even leaving the couch. Furthermore, this model can supposedly print from mobile phones, as long as your phone stores its pictures as JPEGs. Unfortunately, we didn't have a suitable phone to test this function at the time of writing.
Physically, the DS700 is a flat unit with a straight paper path. But unlike other inkjet printers with a straight paper path, the paper enters and exits the unit from the front. When a print is initiated, the paper moves inward, is raised and then brought back out as it goes through the print process.
The DS700 relies on a tri-colour cartridge and does not have a dedicated black ink tank. This means all three colours must combine to produce black tones, and these colours would get eaten up quickly if you loved night-time photography.
Printing photos with this unit was quite enjoyable, and printing from the memory slots in particular was very easy, as accessing each photograph was almost instantaneous. Photos from our SD card took 1 minute and 42 seconds, while PictBridge output was fast at 2 minutes and 25 seconds. Printing from our test PC took 2 minutes 25 seconds.
The printer ships with Easy-PhotoPrint software that allows you to browse and print your photos, but for testing we used PaintShop Pro 8. Prints from this application came out with borders on each end and retained all the image information, while prints from our memory card and via PictBridge were cropped by the driver and printed completely borderless. We did note one cool feature in the driver software: it can print all your pictures as if they were illustrations.
The prints from the DS700 turned out to be very red and not smooth enough for our liking. We could tell straight away that this printer was an inkjet printer due to the visibility of the printed dots and also due to the poor colour blending. The lack of a black cartridge meant that areas of pictures that were supposed to be black were instead a purple colour and very blotchy. Light images without much black in them, and without too much shading, printed with good results. All up, for photos are well lit and do not have too much black in them, you would get good results. If your photos have plenty of shadows and black colour, then you may be disappointed with the results.
We used a Canon BCI-16 ink tank and Photo Paper Pro for our tests. This combination yielded just over 20 prints during testing, and we were warned on the last print that ink was running low. This affected the print quality, too. Some images that were printed towards the end of our tests did not have accurate colour blending and blacks were more purple than usual.
When replenishing, the best option for this printer is the Photo Value Pack, which at the time of writing, cost $73.50 and came with two ink tanks and 150 sheets of Glossy Photo Paper. That comes to around 49 cents per print, which is very competitive, as long as the ink tanks have enough juice to print 150 sheets.
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