This Epson 99 Color Multipack is quite a bargain, when you need replacement ink cartridges for your Epson Artisan 700 or 800 model printer. This multipack includes all 5 standard capacity color cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, and Light Magenta), but does NOT include a black cartridge. Purchasing the multipack will usually save you anywhere from $5 to $10, over buying the cartridges individually, depending on where you buy it from. If you need a replacement black cartridge, you will need to order the #98 Black separately.
All of the cartridges in this multipack are the Epson #99 standard capacity type, which are claimed to yield approximately 500 pages each, based on the ISO/IEC 24711 and 24712 standard for ink jet products. Of course the page count will vary, depending on the amount of ink coverage of each particular color you use on each given page. In comparison, the #98 high capacity color ink cartridges are claimed to yield approx. 855 pages per color, based on the same ISO test standards. Black is only available in #98 high capacity, which is rated at about 545 pages (it is assumed that more black ink is used per page than color ink). This Epson 99 Color Multipack, as well as the #98 black cartridges are available at most online and local retailers. But as of this review date, the #98 high capacity color cartridges are only available for purchase directly from the Epson website.
The Claria ink in these cartridges is boasted to produce photos with unsurpassed richness, depth and clarity, and is also smudge, scratch, water and fade resistant. Epson claims that this ink, when used in combination with Epson Premium Photo Paper, produces better quality photos than you can get from a photo lab. As for my personal experience, I have found this ink to indeed produce very rich and vivid color photos, which look at least as good as I can get from a local photo lab. What amazes me is how quickly this ink dries, when used on Epson Premium photo paper. After the photos print, at the highest print quality settings on my Artisan 800, I can touch the printed side of the paper within 15 to 20 seconds without smudging. Within 2 to 3 minutes the ink has dried enough for normal handling. In comparison, when I print at highest quality settings on my HP OfficeJet 7310, using HP Premium Plus photo paper and HP Vivera ink, I have to wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before I can even touch the printed side of the photos, and a couple of hours before the photos can be handled without extra caution. I have also tested the water resistant claims of the Epson Claria ink, and do find that it is resistant to slight amounts of moisture. Please note the words "resistant" and "slight" in that last sentence. If a small drop of water comes in contact with the printed Claria ink, and is allowed to dry without touching or smearing it, the photo will show little to no signs of discoloration or damage to the image. However, if any part of the image becomes saturated with water, or if the drop(s) of water are smeared in any way, you can definitely see signs of discoloration and/or color smudging/smearing. When I tested my HP Vivera ink in the same manner, even the slightest amount of moisture introduced to the prints would cause obvious damage to the images. Therefore I can personally back the claim that the Epson Claria ink, as used in the #99 cartridges, is modestly water resistant. The claim of scratch resistance is also true, unless a very sharp or pointed object is dragged across the print. So for normal everyday handling, this Claria ink seems to stand up to a moderate amount of abuse without the photo being ruined. I do not have the means to test the fade resistance claims, so I guess I have to take Epson at its word in this area.
Another thing I would like to point out, regarding my previous experience with Epson Claria inks, is that it does not tend to dry up and clog the print heads nearly as easily as I have experienced with the HP Vivera ink. I have an Epson Stylus Photo R380 Inkjet Printer, which uses Claria ink cartridges, and I can let the printer sit, unused, for several weeks, and still get perfect printing results without having the run a cleaning cycle on the printer. This makes me believe that the Claria ink cartridges will remain good, when left in the printer for extended periods of time. It also shows that Epson has designed a good method of sealing the print heads very well when in the parked position.
I am extremely impressed with the #99 Claria ink cartridges, and find this Epson 99 Color Multipack to be a great bargain. At the time of this review, this multipack provides all 5 main color cartridges for less than $10 each, here on Amazon.com. To me this is a very good price for such high quality ink. I highly recommend this multipack to anyone who owns or is purchasing an Epson Artisan 700 or 800 model printer. The Artisan series printers are great products (see my review of the Epson Artisan 800 Wireless Photo All-in-One Printer), and this Claria ink, when used with Epson Premium photo paper, is the perfect companion for these amazing printers.