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Epson Stylus DX4400 All-in-One - Epson Stylus DX4400
The spec sheet for this printer claims print speeds of 25ppm for black print and 13ppm for colour, but even in draft mode these speeds are way off what you're likely to see in real life. Our five-page text print took 2 minutes 9 seconds to complete, giving a speed of 2.3ppm and the black text and colour graphics print, also five pages, took a pretty exceptional 6:09, just 0.81ppm. Both these speeds are singularly unimpressive, with the colour print being one of the slowest we've seen.
The output quality is not too bad given the price of the printer but black characters still come out more jagged than most of the DX440's rivals. Solid colours are dense with good registration and little bleed of black text over coloured backgrounds. Variegated colour is also very reasonable for this class of machine.
An A4 copy came out quite a bit paler than the original but colours were still solid even though they were lighter. Our photographic print, on Epson's Premium Glossy photo paper, reproduced well with smooth gradations of colour and fine detail in the foreground. Colours were generally natural, though quite a bit of detail was lost in shadowed areas.
Epson printers have never been known for their quietness. While printing itself is only a little noisier than its main competitors, the Stylus DX4400 rattles away when feeding paper, giving a peak noise reading of 70dBA. This is really quite loud and noisier than most printers, of any technology type, we've tested before.
This is a four-colour printer using four separate cartridges. You can replace them individually as they run out and this gives good print economy. The cheapest way to buy cartridges is in a four pack, which sells for around £13.68, giving page costs of 2.22p for black and 4.85p for colour pages.
These costs are very competitive, even with printers costing considerably more, and are pretty much best-in-class compared with the entry-level all-in-ones we've tested recently.
The Stylus DX4400 is a mixed bag. Epson has managed to produce a good-looking, functional all-in-one at a very competitive price, while still offering individual ink cartridges and low running costs. Print quality is also reasonable and the printer handles photo printing surprisingly well for a machine not geared specifically to photos.
Where it misses out is on print speed and noise level. It takes a long time to produce a page and could never be described as quiet thanks to Epson's trademark paper feed mechanism.