The Epson PictureMate 290 portable photo printer is Epson's upgrade of its PictureMate Flash PM 280. The Epson PictureMate 290 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor and offers excellent print quality, fast print speeds, a great user interface, and a valuable built-in CD burner. This handy device truly makes the experience of printing photos fun and easy, without compromising on quality.

The PictureMate lineup has changed a lot over the years in terms of appearance, quality, and speed. While the original PictureMate was shaped like a small, rounded boom box, the Epson PictureMate 290's boxy form resembles a car battery.

Despite the Epson PictureMate 290's somewhat bulky design, it's very convenient. A large handle allows you to easily tote the printer around on trips. To set up the Epson PictureMate 290, you plug it in, flip up its 3.6in LCD screen, install its single four-colour ink cartridge, and load some photo paper. Insert your photo card, choose one or more photos to print, and voilà! Using the Epson PictureMate 290's straightforward control panel, you can apply edits to your photos, such as cropping, red-eye removal, colour effects, and so forth.

As in our previous batch of compact photo printer tests, the Epson PictureMate 290 beat its competitors in quality and speed. The Epson PictureMate 290's photos appeared crisp and clear, with accurate colours and excellent shadow detail. As for speed, the Epson PictureMate 290 printed a single photo in 42 seconds. By way of comparison, competing photo printers each took at least 1 minute and 20 seconds to do the same.

We were extremely close to giving the Epson PictureMate 290 a Gold award. However, the Epson PictureMate 290, like its predecessor, the PictureMate Flash, is still limited to one paper size: 4x6in. Nonetheless, the Epson PictureMate 290 is a superb and impressive device.

Macworld US


The Epson PictureMate 290's improvements over its predecessor are subtle but significant. Faster, more affordable, and problem-free, the Epson PictureMate Zoom PM 290 is the best portable photo printer you can currently buy, if you don't mind its print-size limitation.