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The DNP DS620, WPS Pro One-Two Punch: Overview Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

DNP DS620, WPS Pro

Arrival

Overview

Installation

Printing

Conclusion

27 November 2017

We're beginning our multi-part review of the DNP DS620A dye sublimation printer and DNP's WPS Pro wireless print server after several months of testing. We might have started a review of either individual product on its arrival, as we usually do. But the combination made for some interesting complexities.

So let's start with a conclusion.

We've found the DS620A (not to be confused with the European DS620) to make superior prints to its predecessor the DS40, which we reviewed two years ago. And we found the WPS Pro to be a valuable connection, allowing a variety of ways to print to the DS620A.

Over the course of several months we tested our most common configuration by inviting visitors to download the free DNP app, log into the WPS Pro and print their smartphone photos. They, too, were impressed by the quality of the prints and the speed of the printer.

You might think we've got nothing but good things to say but we hit the wall a few times. If you're considering this setup for production, it will be worthwhile to see how we resolved a few common issues.

DS620A HIGHLIGHTS

DNP bills the DS620A as the world's most compact professional digital photo printer. It's not as small as Canon's SELPHY dye sub printers or even Epson's inket 4x6 printers. But the word is "compact" not "small," and compact it is.

DS620A. Compact but not small (or light).

It requires about 20x12 inches of desk space but nothing more, even for its output tray. That's a compact footprint for such a heavy duty workhorse. And at 26.5 lbs. it's portable enough to travel to events.

Connections. Very simple. Just USB (top) and power.

The DS620A is also about 14 percent faster than the DS40, producing 400 prints per hour at sizes from 2x6 inches to 6x8 inches, depending on media. Standard 4x6 prints are printed in about 9 seconds, while 5x7s take about 15 seconds.

Energy consumption and media waste have also been improved in the DS620A. A new standby mode uses less than half a watt. In fact, we routinely leave the DS620A on in standby mode.

The DS620A features an enhanced thermal print head and print engine system that is responsible for its improved output. Consequently DNP offers a three-year advanced exchange warranty as well.

Output Trays. Folding plastic tray (right) and black metal tray that does not fold.

Matt Schmuck, product manager for the DS620A, told us the media for the DS620A was able to be formulated to maximize the performance of the head for both dye sublimation color generation and head life, yielding the improved imaging we experienced.

The DS40 can't currently get the same performance from the improvements to the media but the company isn't ruling out some improvement there too.

DS620A SPECIFICATIONS

Specifications for the DS620A includes:

DNP DS620A PRINTER SPECIFICATIONS
Printing Technology Dye sublimation
Resolution 11.8 x 11.8 dot/mm (300x 300 dpi)
23.6x23.6 dot/mm (600x600 dpi)
Print Sizes 4x6, 5x7, 6x8
Print Speed 8.3 seconds (4x6)
14.1 seconds (5x7)
15.7 seconds (6x8)
Print Head Life 60,000 prints covered by one-year warranty
150,000 prints with three-year warranty
Interface One USB 2.0 port
Max. 480 Mbps, Type B connector
Media 400 sheets/roll (4x6)
230 sheets/roll (5x7) 200 sheets/roll (6x8)
Power AC100-240V, 50/60 Hz
Weight 26.4 lbs.
Dimensions 10.8 x 14.4 x 6.7 inches
Compatibility Mac OS X 10.9, 10.10, 10.11, 10.12
Windows 7/8/10, 32/64-bit
Warranty Three-year advanced exchange warranty

MEDIA

Media for the DS620A is now watermarked on the back. Like any dye sub printer, you're only option for media is what the manufacturer sells. There's no third-party alternative.

Dye sub media consists of paper and a ribbon impregnated with dye. For the DS620A, the paper is on a roll that makes between 200 and 400 prints depending on the size of the print. Each case includes two rolls and two ribbons.

The dye ribbon has cyan, magenta and yellow dye panels plus a clear coat. The clear coat protects the dyes once they have been transferred to the print. But it also provides two options for the print's texture. Normal application creates a glossy finish but with additional heat applied to the layer, a matte finish is created. The driver consequently lets you select matte or glossy finishes.

There are four options for the DS620A:

  • DS620 4x6: 400 4x6 prints per roll ($109.95)
  • DS620 5x7: 230 5x7 prints per roll ($145.00)
  • DS620 6x8: 200 6x8 prints per roll ($159.99)
  • DS620 6x8TS: 200 6x8 prints per roll

DNP's Drew Temple, from the WPS product management team, told us the 4x6 ribbon uses half panels of each dye to more efficiently and inexpensively print sizes no larger than 4x6.

Consequently if you want to make 5x7 and 6x8 prints, you should order the 6x8 size. Those sizes will not be available on the printer's HTML configuration page or in the driver if you install the 4x6 half-panel ribbon.

IN THE BOX

Our review unit shipped with the following items:

  • DNP DS620 Professional Photo Printer
  • Folding plastic tray
  • Metal tray
  • Software CDs
  • Power cord
  • L-size paper spacers
  • USB cable
  • Documentation
  • Cleaning kit

The Cleaning kit itself includes:

  • Four Chempad wipes pre-saturated with isopropyl alcohol
  • A thermal printer Clean-Penn head cleaning pen
  • A thermal head wipe
  • Instruction sheet

In several months of testing, we didn't need to use the cleaning kit despite opening the unit repeatedly to show how the printer makes prints.

We downloaded the current drivers for the Mac from the Downloads page. That page also has the current color profiles, which we installed.

WPS PRO HIGHLIGHTS

The $219.00 WPS Pro is a wireless print server. You connect up to two compatible DNP printers to it with USB cables and it will route print jobs it receives wirelessly from computers, tablets or phones to them.

WPS Pro Print Server. A small WiFi/USB print server.

Additionally, it can connect via Ethernet to your local area network to provide Internet services to devices connected to it. But, like the WPS-1, it can't be seen from its Ethernet connection as a printer to devices on your local area network.

Hardware Tour

Let's take a brief tour of the hardware, starting from the back where all the connections are made:

WPS Pro Connections. The micoSD port, USB printer connections, HDMI port, LAN port and power port.

Be sure to insert a micrSD card upside down into the slot and push until it clicks in. Use the top USB port to connect to the printer before using the bottom one for a second printer. Connect the Ethernet port to your router to provide Internet service to devices connected to the WPS-Pro for printing.

With a card and cables connected to a single printer, here's what the back looks like:

WPS Pro Connections. The micoSD port, USB printer connections, HDMI port, LAN port and power port.

On the right side of the unit, you'll find the Power button and a volume switch. Each side has a speaker grill as well:

WPS Pro Side. Power, Volume. non-functional USB ports, headphone jack with speaker grill above.

Main Features

The main features of the WPS Pro are:

  • A 7.0-inch touchscreen to monitor print jobs, printer status and remaining print counts plus configure print queues, apply borders and more.
  • Wirelessly print from a variety of capture devices using the free WPS Print 2 app to send pictures to a DNP printer.
  • Supports iOS and Android phones and tablets, Android cameras and select WiFi-enabled dSLR cameras.
  • The free WPS Status app shows printer status, controls configurations and manages job process sharing from a mobile device.
  • Preconfigure low-paper warnings for easier print management.
  • Built-in versatility allows up to two DNP printers and image transfer via FTP services and printer sharing.
  • Third-party application support for wireless tethered printing, photo booth printing and event printing workflows.
  • MicroSD card slot to store images sent to the print server, which we consider particularly valuable.

In short, the WPS Pro resembles the WPS-1 print server identically except for three things:

  • The touchscreen, absent on the WPS-1, makes for a bigger, more stable unit that doesn't require some other device to communicate with but it does not time out, so unlike the WPS-1, you won't want to leave it on all the time.
  • The microSD card slot replaces the SD card slot for storing image files sent to the device. But microSDXC cards are not supported.
  • The antenna helps extend the range of the device.

We'll detail configuration options, what does and doesn't work, when we discuss installation and operation.

WPS PRO SPECIFICATIONS

Specifications for the WPS Pro print server compared to the previous WPS-1 include:

WPS PRO & WPS-1 PRINT SERVER SPECIFICATIONS
WPS-1 WPS Pro
Radio Frequency 2.4 GHz: 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz: 802.11b/g/n
4.5" 2 dBi gain
Security WPA, WPA2 PSK, None WPA2
Printer Compatibility DS620, DS40, DS80, RX1 DS620A, DS-RX1HS, DS820A, DS40, DS80
Supported Print Sizes DS620: 4x6, 5x7, 6x8, 5x5, 6x6, 2x6, 3.5x5
DS40: 4x6, 5x7, 6x8, 2x6, 3.5x5
RX1: 4x6, 6x8, 2x6
DS80: 8x10, 8x12, 8x8, 4x8, 5x8, 6x8
DS620A: 4x6, 2x6, 5x7, 3.5x5, 6x8, 5x5, 6x6
DS820A: 8x10, 8x12, 8x8, 6x8, 5x8, 4x8
DS-RX1HS: 4x6, 2x6, 6x8, 6x6,
DS40: 4x6, 2x6, 5x7, 3.5x5, 6x8
DS80: 8x10, 8x12, 8x8, 6x8, 5x8, 4x8
Storage SD, SDHC microSD, microSDHC
32-GB max
Screen Resolution None 1280x800 pixels
7-inch diagonal screen
5-point capacitive multi-touch LCD
Power 110 to 240v, 50 or 60Hz 110 to 240v, 50 or 60Hz
Dimensions 4 x 3.5 x 0.75 inches 7 x 2 x 5.3 inches
Weight 3.2 oz. 13.9 oz.
Certifications FCC, CE, UL FCC, CE, UL
Compatibility Mac OS 10.6 through 10.10 (10.11 tested)
Windows 7/8
Android 4.0+
iOS 8.0+
10.9 through 10.12
Windows 7/8/8.1 or 10 (32 or 64 bit)
Android 5.0+
iOS 10.0+

Current firmware version for the WPS Pro, model WPS-20, is 2.2 and it hasn't had an update in over a year. At power-on, the printed test page shows software version, network SSID and IP address (if the WPS Pro is plugged into a router).

Print Servers Compared. The WPS Pro (left) and smaller WPS-1.

We've run the DS620A for over a year now via both the WPS-1 and, more recently, the WPS Pro. We've used the same software driver on both El Capitan and Sierra on macOS from a variety or photo applications. And we'll report on those in future installments of this review.

DNP has published a WPS Pro User Guide.

IN THE BOX

Our review unit shipped with the following items:

  • The WPS Pro print server
  • USB cable
  • Power brick

You need an Ethernet cable to provide Internet access on mobile devices that use the WPS Pro as their connection. And you may also need another USB cable to connect the WPS Pro to your network as a printer.

Again, we'll detail these options in the installation and operation sections of this review.

NEXT

In the next installment of this review, we'll discuss installation and configuration options.

(Editor's Note: This is the first part of a multi-part review of the DS620A printer and WPS Pro print server. Links to the other stories are in the main table of contents at the top right of each story.)


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