The Epson Stylus Pro line is made up of wide-format printers commonly used by engineers, scientists and architects. The Epson 9800 and 9880 both belong to the Stylus Pro line, but there are several key differences between them that affects how useful each machine would be to various users.
Both the Epson Stylus Pro 9800 and 9880 print rolls of paper that are 44 inches wide. Both printers are 67 inches wide, but the 9880 is 1 inch shorter than the 9800, which is 47 inches tall. The 9800 is significantly more shallow, coming in at 26.7 inches deep while the 9880 is 30 inches deep, meaning the printer could not fit as easily in areas that could encroach on walkways. Overall, though, the Epson 9800 and 9880 are of a similar size.
The Epson 9800 features eight cartridges of ink colours while the 9880 features nine cartridges of colour, giving the 9880 a more vibrant array of colours to put on a page. Both printers use the same eight-channel inkjet print head set-up to get the ink onto the paper. Both printers are able to vary the ink droplet size to create different effects of resolution, depending on the print job being performed.
Although both printers are listed by Epson as having a broad range of print speeds for various size print jobs, the overall average print speed of both the 9800 and 9880 is essentially the same. For example, to print a page that is 20 inches by 30 inches, the 9800 takes about 14 minutes and 18 seconds. The 9880 takes about 12 minutes for the same print job, although it can take anywhere from seven minutes and 55 seconds to 23 minutes and 18 seconds. The 9800 can take from as little as two minutes and 12 seconds to 26 minutes and 54 seconds, depending on the print job.
Both the Epson 9800 and 9880 work with Windows XP. The 9800 also works with Windows 2000 while the 9880 works with Windows Vista and Windows 7. The 9800 works with Epson's own set of print drivers and most third-party print drivers, according to Epson. The 9880, however, is listed by Epson as working not only with Epson's print drivers, but also PANTONE PostScript and Level 3-compatible RIP by Colorburst.
The Epson 9800 is able to detect and clean completely or even partially clogged print heads, keeping all eight colour channels free for problem-free printing. The 9880 takes the fight against clogged print heads to a new level. The print heads in the 9880 are coated with a finish Epson claims repels printer ink so it will not build up and clog the print heads.
The 9800 uses three different types of black ink: black, light black and light black inks. The three black inks help to improve grey balance and highlights of prints. The 9880 uses the same technology but also can print the three black inks in either photo or matt, which changes the ink density according to the type of material on which you are printing.