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Epson Stylus DX4400 All-in-One
Getting a complete all-in-one for £40 is a pretty good deal, but there are entry-level machines from all the major makers now, so there's quite a bit of choice. Epson produces both photo all-in-ones, the Stylus Photo range, and what it calls general-purpose Stylus ones. The Stylus DX4400, with its four pigment-based inks, is designed for home printing, scanning and copying.
The Stylus DX4400 is conventionally styled, but unconventionally coloured in slate grey. With a straight-through paper path from back to front and a fold-down, telescopic output tray, there's nothing unusual about the physical design, either. According to Epson, the input tray can hold up to 80 sheets of 60gsm paper, but who uses 60gsm paper on a regular basis? We managed to load 80 sheets of standard 80gsm office paper.
The control panel is simplicity itself; it has five control buttons and three small LED indicators. The buttons turn the machine on and off, stop a current job and start a colour copy, a black copy, or a copy of a photo. There's no LCD monitor screen and no mono status display, either. It's perhaps unreasonable to expect one on a machine at this price point and since the Stylus DX4400 has no memory card readers or PictBridge sockets, there's much less need for one.
There's a single USB 2.0 socket at the rear and, even on this budget-priced printer, the power supply is internal, which is the neatest solution. Software installation is simple and once the files are copied, Windows recognises the device in the usual way.
Setting the machine up is comparatively simple. Lift the main scanner section and it rests on a support that can be set in two positions. Each of the four ink cartridges snaps into place in the permanent print-head carrier. Epson, of course, uses a piezoelectric print head, rather than the more common thermal technology.
The software bundle is Epson's standard fare, with its Creativity Suite and Easy Photo Print taking care of basic photo handling. There's little in the way of editing software, but the Epson Scan utility is surprisingly sophisticated and in Professional Mode offers colour histogram adjustment and tone correction.
The manual mentions the optical character recognition application Abbyy FineReader, but there's no installation option for this and we could find no trace of it on the software CD.