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Epson PictureMate Dash PM 260

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Epson PictureMate Dash (PM260) looks a lot like its predecessors, the PictureMates Pal, Snap, and Flash. It stands 13.6 inches wide, 9.1 inches deep, and 8.7 inches tall, and weighs just 5.3 pounds. Although it has traded the all silver look for a white and dark gray exterior, it retains the high tech picnic basket look with a pivoting handle and lid.

The lid opens to reveal the control panel, and also serves as the input support for photo paper. A panel on the front opens to catch prints. One big improvement over last year's PictureMate lineup is the huge 3.6 inch LCD that flips up. This is larger than the LCD on the Flash, which was last year's high end model.

The on board control panel consists of a menu button four direction keys and an OK button for navigating the menus a zoom button a thumbnail display key and stop and start buttons.

Two memory card slots are mounted on the front and accept most major types, though some will require an adapter (not included).

The printer also offers a USB port for connecting PictBridge devices, storage drives, and an optional Bluetooth adapter, but it's located in the back.

Because the printer is small, it's not difficult to turn it around to access the USB port, but it would be more convenient to have it on the front of the printer.

The PictureMate Dash comes with enough ink and paper to produce approximately 20 4x6 prints. It uses four color printing, and the ink comes in a single large cartridge that pops into a slot in the back of the printer. Paper and ink are sold together in print packs, with the amount of ink calibrated for the amount of paper. Epson offers both glossy and matte paper.

The glossy pack costs $38 and comes with 150 sheets of paper, while the matte pack costs $32.30 and comes with 100 sheets of paper. This works out to a per print cost (for paper and ink) of 25.3 cents for glossy and 32.3 cents for matte. These costs are in line with those from Epson's competitors.

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