Epson Stylus Pro 4900 and 4880 compared

Epson Stylus Pro 4900 and 4880 compared

This article will compare the Epson Stylus Pro 4900, announced in fall 2010, and its predecessor, the Stylus Pro 4880. Although the two printers share many of the same features and can print on media up to 17 inches wide, some significant changes were made when introducing the Stylus Pro 4900 that should benefit many users. Among these changes are the print head, the ink set and the speed at which prints can be made.

Print heads, ink and automatic black ink switching

The Epson 4900 has a single ten-channel piezo printhead that allows automatic sharing of the black ink channel. The Epson 4880 had a single 8-channel piezo printhead that forced users to have Photo Black or Matte Black ink installed. To change the black inks, you will have to drain the black ink line, using more than $30 worth of ink to make this change. Although the 4900 has both matte black and photo black inks installed, users lose no more than $2.00 of ink during the automatic switchover.

The ink used in the Stylus Pro 4900 is the UltraChrome HDR Ink Set. This set includes the same eight colors included in the 4880 ink set, but also adds orange and green ink, in addition to the availability of matte black and photo black ink. The total number of inks loaded in this printer is 11, with 10 being used at a time. The overall result is an expanded color gamut over the 4880.

The other difference is the capacity of the ink cartridges. Stylus PRo 4900 cartridges are available in one size – 200 ml. Inks for the 4880 are available in two sizes 110ml and 220ml.


The Epson 4900 and 4880 can print on the same media types. Photo paper, fine art paper, canvas and specialty media can be used. Both printers can print on media up to 17″ wide. Borderless printing is supported by both printers for the most common roll widths – 8″, 10″, 16″ and 17″ among others.


The speed at which Epson Stylus Pro 4900 can print is also a significant improvement over the 4880. The 4900 can produce an 8 x 10 in normal mode (SuperFine – 1440 dpi HS) in about one minute and 30 seconds. A 16 x 20 can be produced in just over four minutes. In the same print mode, the 4880 produced an 8 x 10 in two minutes and a 16 x 20 in just over six minutes. Based on this, the Stylus Pro 4900 can print at speeds at least 25% faster than the 4880.


The Epson Stylus Pro 4900 is a welcome upgrade over the 4880. With a wider color gamut, the ability to automatically switch black inks and improved print speeds, the Stylus Pro 4900 will meet the needs of the professional photographer and fine art printer looking for create high-quality prints up to 17″ wide.

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