Review Price £395.23
There's quite a trend among printer makers to produce bigger, heavier-weight inkjets to challenge the dominance of laser printers in offices. First HP and now Epson with its B-500DN, have produced machines claimed to be as cheap to run and nearly as fast as equivalent lasers, but with the bonus of better colour quality and lower energy use.
To be kind to the B-500DN, you would say that it had unconventional styling. To be accurate, you would say it was a monolithic printer with a big square bulge. That bulge holds the four ink cartridges and, given their size, it's hard to see where else in the printer's case they could go.
There are two paper sources in the machine, with a substantial paper cassette at the front, capable of taking a full ream of 500 sheets of plain paper and a separate feed tray under a fold up cover, which can take a further 100 sheets. You can feed photo paper through the printer too, in either A4 or 15 x 10cm sizes and, whatever the source, printed pages feed out to a tray at the front of the machine.
At the back of the printer is an oddly-shaped cylinder, which turns out to be the duplexer, so you can print double-sided pages. Also at the back are sockets for USB 2 and Ethernet connections, as the printer is network-enabled as standard.
The control panel consists of a 2-line by 16-character LCD, which has no backlight and is therefore difficult to read in normal use. There's a diamond of five control buttons, plus two to feed paper and switch the printer on and off.
Printer setup involves unlocking the cartridge holders and plugging in four ink cartridges. The printer then performs a one-off charging cycle which takes around five minutes. Software installation is simple, as there's only a driver and web printing utility. The driver is well specified, with support for multiple pages per sheet, poster printing and watermarks, as well as duplex print.