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Epson Stylus D92 Inkjet
What kind of a colour printer can you expect for £30? If it's the Epson Stylus D92, it's a good basic design that produces four-colour print using four separate ink cartridges for potentially good economy.
You probably wouldn't expect anything unusual in a machine at this low, entry-level asking price and Epson's offering is the epitome of conventional design. With a paper feed from a near-vertical tray at the rear to a clip-on tray at the front - there's no way of folding these away when the printer isn't in use - there's little scope for paper jams.
Just two buttons are provided, one to switch the printer on and off and the other to cope with cartridge changes, and the only connection to the outside world is a single USB socket at the back. Even on this low-cost printer, though, Epson manages to build the power supply inside the printer, so there's no awkward, black block kicking around under the desk.
Once you've clipped the four cartridges into the holder on the print head and installed Epson's decent set of drivers and utilities, you're ready to print. The driver supports collation, reduction and enlargement of documents, multi-page print of up to four pages per sheet and watermarks, including standard messages and those you enter yourself.
The big difference between the Stylus D92 and other Epson inkjet printers is the speed with which it prints. Although rated at 25ppm for black print and 13ppm for colour, in normal print modes it doesn't get anywhere near these figures. Our five page, black text print took 2mins 7secs to complete, a speed of 2.36ppm. The five page colour text and graphics test took an incredible 6mins 10secs, which equates to 0.81ppm.
These speeds are very different from the rated ones so we decided to test the printer in draft mode, too, to see if those figures would be closer to Epson's. In draft, the five-page text print took 31secs and the five-page text and graphics print took 1mins 12secs. That's 9.7ppm and 4.2ppm, respectively, still a long way off the rated values. We really don't see how this printer is capable of the speeds claimed for it.
It has to be said, too, that we can't see many people wanting to use the Stylus D92's draft mode. Black text looks like something out of a nine-pin dot-matrix printer - one where the ribbon needs replacing - and pale colours are so faint they're barely visible.