Design & Handling
Design & Handling
The Epson PictureMate PM310 comes in a quiet, friendly box shape that is clean white and has rounded edges. Its size is quite substantial for a photo-frame, but slightly pudgy for a compact photo printer. It has a flip-up handled for easy transport, and the screen can either by flipped out or locked straight against the main body. The screen can also be adjusted up and down easily, and its display is roughly the size of a 4R photo print. Look closely and you'll see that there's only one button on the PM310 for power and no, the screen isn't touch-sensitive unfortunately.
Everything on the PM310 is controlled via its remote control. We can't deny that being button-free makes the PM310 look quite nice, but it strikes us as rather of a hassle, as surely they could have fit at least a directional pad on the PM310 for some direct control. On their part, Epson at least designed a space on top of the PM310 for you to keep the remote neatly tucked away, so at least you'll reduce your chances of losing it.
Paper is fed from the back, and a single, large ink cartridge slots in the bottom rear. When used for the first time, it 'charges up' for about 3 minutes before you can use the printer; then the PM310 announces that the starter cartridge that came with it will do you good for only up to 20 prints (the manual says normal ink cartridges will print more). Setup is easy and when all this is done, the PM310 is good to go.
Since the PM310 makes a good example, I'd like to rant a little about icons found on printers. Have a look at the icon found on the paper tray, this is a common looking icon found everywhere on printers.
It's not always obvious on printers which side the paper is going to be printed on - is it the side facing up or facing down? This paper icon is there to help you figure out which is which. It's especially important for photo paper that you get the right side facing up or down, because if you print it on one side you get a beautiful photo, if you print it on the other side you get a hideous mess.
We re-created a primitive version of the icon on the PM310, which is the icon on the top right. Now, looking at the icon, which side would you guess is the side to be printed on, and thus how to properly place your photo paper into the tray?
If you'd guessed the side facing down because of the darker color (that was our guess) you would have ended up with a hideous mess of colors.
Here's a more obvious example. The darker color of the facing page on the first icon makes it look like the side facing up will be the printed page. Intuitively, we think that the darker side of the icon means it'll be printed on, whereas the blank side won't be. Unfortunately, the PM310 (and many other printers) get it the other way around!
How some other printers get it right - and we're all for this approach - is to use icons like the above middle or above right, where it's much clearer which side will get printed, and thus how to properly lay your paper on the tray.
This isn't rocket science, people! Can we get this right once and for all please?