First, the good. Epson's R2880 offers eight-ink printing, including two black and two grey inks, designed to produce immaculate black-and-white photo prints. The not-so-good part is that the complete range of cartridges adds up to nine, but there's only space for eight of them in the printer.

This means that you have to physically swap the photo black and matte black cartridges every time you want to switch between printing on glossy or matte media.

The process takes about five minutes to complete, once all the print heads have been refreshed and the black channel has been purged of any remaining photo or matte black ink. It's time-consuming, inconvenient and a waste of ink. Indeed, switching from matte to glossy media just four times can be enough to drain the photo black cartridge, without even doing any printing.

Print Quality

The R2880 redeems itself when it comes to print quality, with vivid colour and fabulous black-and-white output even on glossy paper, which is always a challenge for pigment-based printers. In the Advanced B&W Photo print mode, only black (photo or matte), light black and light light black inks are used, so unwanted colour casts aren't an issue. If you do fancy a warm or cool tint, this is available in the Advanced B&W Photo mode, at which point the R2880 calls on the required colour cartridges.

Our only criticism of print quality is that skin tones were a bit cool and unflattering in our tests, although they warmed up a little when switching to the Photo Enhance (people printing mode). Print speeds are average for a pigment-based printer, as you'll see from our comparison table, and a neat extra is the roll feeder for panoramic printing.

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