Epson Stylus Pro 4880 printer user experience report
Part three: unexpected surprises

I mentioned earlier in this report that Epson pro–level printers generally appear to be better–sorted products. Epson, however, is a multinational company and their policies vary greatly depending on the country. Also, there are bound to be discrepancies in products and services offered in different nations. I happen to be living in China and buying the 4880 in The Middle Kingdom was not without a few surprises.

  • My Epson 4880 came with a software CD that had "Epson Stylus PRO 4550/4880C" written on it. I insert the CD into my Mac, run the installation programme and guess what? It contains software for the 4550 only! In other words, my 4880 came without any sort of software. The Epson technician who came to install the printer (and was useful for moving it around only) was as puzzled as yours truly and, after making a couple of phone calls, suggested that I download the software from the Epson Web site. This eventually worked but, still, I would not call this elegant—for a company such as Epson this, in fact, is a fundamental blunder.

  • The printer that I bought is actually called "Epson Stylus Pro 4880C". Up till now, however, I have not been able to figure out what this "C" might imply. At first I naively thought that this might indicate that the printer that I bought is the ColorBurst Edition but considering the fact that it came without any software whatsoever I scrapped that idea. I then phoned Epson hotline and they confirmed that the "C" designation means that the printer is made and sold in China. They, however, could not clarify whether there are any technical differences between the 4880C and the 4880 sold elsewhere.

  • As mentioned earlier the 4880 takes both 110ml and 220ml cartridges. 110ml cartridges would be ideal for the amount of printing that I do. Unfortunately, Epson's policy in China is that they do not sell 110ml cartridges in this country. Another fundamental inconvenience is that the 220ml cartridges are longer than the 110ml ones and once you install one of them (as I had to do as I use matte black ink) the ink compartment cover cannot be closed. I do not find this particularly elegant, too, but there currently is no choice.


Epson 4880C: 220ml vs. 110ml cartridges

  • The flip (positive) side of the above point, however, is that in China Epson sell 220ml cartridges at the price that in other countries is paid for 110ml cartridges—current price of 220ml cartridges in Shanghai is RMB450 (approximately USD61). I suppose I should not really be complaining .

Part one: why Epson?

Part two: Epson 3800 vs. Epson 4880

Part three: unexpected surprises

Part four: swapping matte and photo black inks

Part five: printer driver

Part six: 8–bit vs. 16–bit printing

Part seven: print head clogging

Part eight: final thoughts