This new 17-inch model prints more colors and is built to last.
Another benefit of a highend printer like this one: It can handle thicker paper. The 3880 accepts media up to 1.5mm thick and up to 17x22 inches in size. Compare that to the 1.3mms thick, 13x19 cut sheets the Stylus Photo R2880 limits you to.
There are three paper paths: a standard feeder, a straighter rear feed, and an absolutely straight front feed. Strangely, though, the 3880 doesn't have a roll-feed option-you'll need the R2880 or Stylus Pro 4880 for this.
Certain papers, such as Epson's new Hot Press and Cold Press matte papers, require you to choose the proper path when you select the paper size in the page-setup portion of the driver. So, if the driver doesn't let you select your paper, check that you've selected one of the manual feed options.
You might balk at the fact that each ink cartridge costs $50 (not a typo!), but each cartridge holds 80 milliliters of ink compared with 10 to 14 ml in similar-sized cartridges from other makers. The price per milliliter is on par with what you'd pay using a printer with smaller tanks.
The 3880 is built to stand up to the needs of pros. It also has an Ethernet port on back, so you can set it up on a network. Plus, it's offered as a package with ColorBurst RIP software ($200 extra), for a level of control that most people don't need.
Overall, the Stylus Pro 3880 is a worthy follow-up to the 3800. If you have the earlier model, you probably don't need to upgrade, unless you feel the new Vivid Magenta ink will make a major difference to you.
But if you want to get serious about printing photos at home or need to replace another serious photo printer, the 3880 is almost a no-brainer.