Design & Features
In terms of design and construction, the R3000 has more in common with the A2 Pro 3880 than with the R2880. The overall build quality is of a very high standard with sturdy trays that don't give the impression they are going to fall apart with heavy use.
The R3000 has a small footprint 615 x 841 x 424mm when in the closed state. The rear paper tray has a cover which protects against dust and other studio objects that could fall into the works. The paper out tray is also hidden behind a magnetic front cover. Unlike other Epson printers, this cover's only purpose is to provide protection against dust. On other Epson printers the front cover also doubles as the media catcher tray, this often resulted in a flimsy set-up. Instead on the R3000 the media tray consists of two telescopic sections and has a sturdy feel.
The R3000 also has a front-loading straight paper path for thicker paper and board up to 1.3mm thickness. The R3000 employs a slight upward curvature for thick media. The paper is drawn into the printer and makes a brief appearance at the rear of the printer before being drawn in for printing. The temptation was to load the media via the rear slot, but this results in a paper load error. Board media up to 1.3mm can also be loaded, this keeps to a straight paper path and requires extra space for rear clearance.
|The R3000 has a dedicated tray for printing onto CDs and DVDs. The tray slots into the straight paper path tray but requires the user to correctly align it.|
The R3000 also has the ability to print labels directly onto inkjet compatible CD/DVD disks. A tray is included with the printer which slots in via the straight paper path tray. You must manually align the arrows on the tray with the arrow on the printer. This is no major problem, but I would have thought the Epson could have come up with a better solution than this - load the tray a millimeter or two out and the artwork on your CD/DVD could miss the mark. The CD/DVD label printing option does produce professional-looking disks and is a useful feature to have.
The rear paper support is a three-stage telescopic unit. The bottom stage has two rubberized pads to stop the media slipping. The grey media guide has a positive feel to it and at the same time it moves smoothly along it guide rail. Markings for A4, Letter and A3 media are engraved at the rear.
A media support tray is located at the rear of the printer, this is a two stage unit. This tray serves as a guide for the front loading straight paper path, the paper is fed into the front of the printer but makes a brief appearance at the rear before being pulled in for printing.
Finally, once all the covers have been shut, the printer has a totally flat top surface. This is a great place to put boxes of media, but not half-empty cups of coffee.
The printer is supplied with two roll-media holders, these are attached to the rear of the printer. I have used roll media on other A3 printers, but due to the tight curl of this small format I have never managed to uncurl the prints, roll media is probably best left to larger format printers.
|In addition to the standard sheet-fed tray, the R3000 also comes with roll media holders that feed in through the back of the printer, using a straight path.|
One of the features I like on the R3000 is the new Control Panel, it's visual and simple to use. Looking at the controls from left to right; the Power ON/Off button, green light indicates the power is on, (you can turn off the LCD display, so this light would indicate the printer is still live), if an error occurs then the light flashes. Next is the ink check light, this is on if an error occurs and flashes when the ink is low. The Cancel button is, predictably enough, used to cancel a print job.
In the middle of the panel is the 2.5" color LCD, which gives you all the printing and maintenance options. Use the direction buttons to navigate through the menus, press the OK button to select an option. Finally the Back button takes you back one stage in the menus.
The control panel is clearly laid out and easy to use. The menu includes useful information on how to load media, such as thick media, CD/DVD and roll media, saving you from having to constantly refer to the user guide. The LCD screen can be turned off if you prefer.
|The printer's status panel gives detailed information, including individual ink levels||The menu provides plenty of guidance on how to use the printer's features...|
|...leading you through the relevant settings...||...and providing on-screen guidance for physically setting the printer up.|
|These guides cover all the printer's key media options...||...including how to print onto CDs and DVDs.|
|The simple menu layout makes it easy to find help for the kind of job you want to do...||...and be reminded of all the necessary steps for achieving the results you were after.|
|In addition to all the media options, there's a Setup menu...||...that covers the printer's configuration and also includes maintenance options...|
|...allowing you to check and clean the print heads, nozzles and paper paths.|