It looks like a PC from the 1980s – I’ll call it “retro,” but the purpose of the new Epson Colorio 3-820 printer is certainly contemporary. This printer does far more than run off copies of your latest newsletter. The Colorio is a photo printing apparatus of sorts, and it’s bound to be a hit in Japan where Epson plans to launch the printer.
The Japanese market is the perfect place for companies like Epson to introduce products that may not fly elsewhere in the world. It’s also an ideal testing ground for new products that some consumers may not fully understand. The Colorio is, it seems, one of those devices. Sure, it’s a photo printer, but it’s not the kind of photo printer that you may have in mind.
Portable and PC Independent
Even though it looks like a retro PC, the Epson Colorio E-820 is actually the opposite. This printer doesn’t require a PC at all to function. If you want to print out a quick photo or a postcard, all you have to do is insert a USB stick, a Memory Stick Pro card, any XD-Picture card, microSDHC card or DXC card into the device.
Within moments, the photo or postcard that you’re looking for will appear. Reportedly, the quality of photos and postcards coming from the Epson Colorio is decent. This printer even comes with a handle, so that you can carry the Colorio around with you wherever you go. If you have a hankering to travel with your photo printer, you can easily do so. Granted, the Colorio doesn’t appear lightweight, but it is portable (in principle) all the same.
Now that we’ve established what the Colorio can do (and how you can use it), let’s talk about the price that Epson has slapped on this printer. Sure, it prints without a PC, it can be brought anywhere, and it seems to be fun to use, but the high price tag of this printer might turn off some North American shoppers.
Epson has announced that the Colorio will hit Japanese store shelves mid-September, and that the price of the device will be around $700 – that’s right, $700 for a photo printer. But wait, Epson claims that this printer is also a digital photo frame. If you so desire, you can insert your USB or other stick into the printer, and let your photos stream.
The Colorio screen does tilt a bit, so that you can show off your photos in style. To recap: the Colorio is a photo printer that doesn’t need a PC, it is portable, it can print photos or postcards, and it’s also a digital photo frame – what can’t this printer do? Well, it might not be able to entice most buyers, for one.
Who Might Want this Printer
It’s hard to pinpoint a direct market for Epson’s new photo printer. Due to the cost of the printer, Epson may be looking at a niche market – one that has hundreds of dollars to spend on a novelty item. Then again, owning a printer that can create instant photos and postcards without relying on a pesky PC might be worth the several hundred dollars it will take to purchase the Colorio.
If you fall into any one of these markets, the Colorio will soon be available in Japan. There’s no word yet as to when Epson will debut the printer in North America. Presumably, the company is waiting to see how the device fares in Japan before unleashing Colorio’s magic on the rest of the world.