Take my answer with a large pinch of salt because it's not something I need to do, but...
I have an HP 8600 "All in One" and it claims to give me the option to let either the printer or Photoshop control the colour. In theory, under Photoshop control the colours should be able to make colour critical proofs.
I wouldn't take this as gospel but it might be worth checking the HP specs etc.
I used the same Epson you use. works fantastic.
We use the EPSON Stylus Pro 9880. I wondered if anyone used the EPSON P400, P600, or P800 for contract proofs? I was also curious if any other printers were used for color critical contract proofs?
That's a very interesting and timely question. We have had to do some research on this.
There's a significant sales resurgence for Canon, Epson, and HP for "grown-up" printers on many levels. Some big paper mills, which refused to move into this century, have been acquired by large paper merchants and are converting to a digital world.
For many years, there wasn't much movement in new product development from the big 3. Recently they have been pretty much replacing their entire lines and rolling out new special market printers.
So to answer your question, color critical work is done with Epson but Canon and HP are getting a good chunk of that action, too. It's not all photo printer driven, either.