I am sure that someone will not be impressed with my following comments, but I am interested in feedback from those after they have the 3800.
Some background: I have always gone for the latest and greatest, when I could afford it. I have been a student of the technology arena since 1982. (My first PC was an IBM with a 16 K motherboard that I upgraded all the way to 64 K plus it had 2, count 'em, 2 5.25 floppy disk drives). I bought and sold PCs every 6-9 months so I was always current. I predicted the market accurately for many years selling the current system for about what I paid for it. To keep pace, you had to be prepared to go without for a few months and then could buy the newest kid on the block.
With such an "impressive" track record :-), I finally got burned when I bought an Epson 4000. Don't get me wrong, a great printer with much to its credit. However, I did not spot that this printer was to function as a stop-gap measure by Epson who soon released the 4800...within 10 months of the release of the 4000. In retrospect I should have seen this coming since the 4000 was a 17 inch release of the old technology represented by the 7600/9600. To add insult to injury, upon release of the 4800, Michael stated in the "What's New" section, "....Epson announced perhaps the worst kept secret new printer, the 4800...." [paraphrase]. Clearly, everyone kept the secret from me. Regardless, I had no regrets but I did get foiled in the bragging rights for the latest and greatest.
To my point: I think the 3800 is an interesting printer addressing the needs of many with a 17 inch printer that is smaller than the 4800, much lighter in weight and an upgrade to printing technology somewhat. They have addressed the black ink fiasco again to a great extend. They have sacrificed the roll option and the carts are smaller but there has to be some reason to get a 4800. As importantly, this printer is much less expensive than the 4800. There can be little doubt that this printer will cannibalize sales of the 4800.
The 3800 is lighter because it is all, or almost all, plastic. It is cheaper for the same reason. It introduces an improvement in the printing technology which will likely be passed on to a newer, higher end printer line. The 3800 does not compete with either the new "Z-series" HPs or the Canon ipf5000 (in spite of its warts). Both of these competitors have fired a salvo across Epson's bow. There is no way Epson will stand still with the current X800 line of K3 printers for much longer. Therefore, I believe the 3800 is a viable attempt to capture more of the wider carriage market but is only a temporary measure until they are ready to launch the new series of printers to compete with HP and Canon. The 3800 is another stop-gap measure whose lifespan may only be 6 months.
I really don't mean to rain on anyone's parade. The 3800 will be a good printer and do the job well. However, call it what it is, another stop-gap measure.