HP vs. Epson Paper: Is it just me or is there something wrong here?

Many years ago I was loyal to the Epson brand. When it came time to get a printer for photos, or even low run plain paper jobs, I would look around at the Epson offerings and select the model that seemed to fit my needs the best – while always looking for a networked solution that could be shared without having a computer as a hosting server.

As time passed, however, I grew frustrated with the Epson printers. The real problem I believe was my own fault in that they were rarely used and the heads would clog up sometimes making the ink needing to be replaced well ahead of time or in the worst of cases making the entire printer useless. That was years ago so for all I know things may have changed radically since then but no matter what the state Epson hardware is in currently that is at least my own story as to why I switched to HP.

The HP printers on the consumer photo side do not look as good as the Epson specs (at least for the evaluation I did a couple of years ago) but considering the actual output the HP I selected (the Photosmart D7560) offered everything I needed and with the addition of a printer server box (an HP JetDirect) I even got it networked too. I use it from Mac OS, Windows, and even iOS. The thing simply works great and the best part about it is I can leave it sit for literally months and when I ask it to print it still works without the least bit of trouble.

So, where does the story go from here? When I switched over to HP I still had a lot of Epson paper left and not wanting to waste anything I waited to go through it until I ordered what absolutely, positively, must be better for an HP printer – genuine HP paper. Heck, the HP paper even has a barcode on the back (I assume so the printer can identify it) and a rough surface on the back (I assume so it gets better traction through the printer).

The result? To me the HP paper is not better. It is not equal. It is, in fact, terrible. The HP Premium Plus Photo Paper that is listed as High Gloss is anything but. The lighter (white) areas keep a gloss whereas the ink saturated areas seem to handle reflection in greatly different ways. It does seem to get better if you let it dry for a week but thus far the side by side samples I have printed are easily picked out with Epson paper winning (from my untrained eye) hands down.

Epson vs. HP Printer Paper

The photo above (Epson paper on the left) gives you some clue as to what I am talking about but you really need to see it as it is exposed to a light source at different angles. The Epson paper has a continuous deep shine to it, as if you got it from a photo lab, and the HP paper simply does not. My bottom line is now I am back to using Epson paper on a HP printer (running genuine HP inks) and this time I am not waiting to go through my paper supply to switch back.

HP and Epson Paper

I would not go as far to say that this is a thorough test of any kind. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe your results will vary. My only advice would be if you have only run HP paper in your printer it might be a good idea to try something else. If you are like me the result might surprise you!