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Epson Stylus DX4800
The all-in-one device market continues to hot up and as specs rise, prices fall. This latest release from Epson brings the street price down to well under £100, while offering a number of innovations in a machine at this price point. Almost inevitably though, there are a some shortcomings too.
The Stylus DX4800 is a sleek, curvaceous design, traditionally laid out with a 1,200ppi flatbed scanner on top and a paper path running from a vertical tray at the rear to a horizontal one at the front. A comprehensive control panel runs down the left-hand side of the top panel, with a rather tacky stick-on label giving you more information on what the lights and buttons mean.
Perhaps not surprising on a device at this price point, there's no LCD monitor screen, but since the device includes a memory card reader – behind a spring-loaded, acrylic cover on the left – this can make life a bit awkward. You have two choices: you can print an index sheet and mark off the prints you want to reproduce from a card, or upload the images to your PC and select them from there. If your camera supports PictBridge, it’s a much better bet to select from the camera.
The control panel includes buttons to control text or photo prints, paper size and index sheet printing and a single digit LCD display enables you to dial up a number of copies. At the rear is a socket for the mains cable – no ugly, black-block power supply, here – and another for a USB 2.0 cable.
The Stylus DX4800 uses Durabrite inks, which have a claimed fade resistance under glass of up to 80 years and are smear and water resistant as soon as a page leaves the machine. The scanner uses a CCD sensor, which has a small depth of field, which may cause problems if you can’t lay the source page completely flat, as when scanning from a bound book.
The four separate ink cartridges click into place in the head carrier once you've hinged the scanner section upwards. Access is surprisingly good for a multifunction machine. A nice touch when changing ink cartridges is that the head carrier moves to a locatoin on the carriage where a pointer shows which cartridge needs replacing. A simple, low-cost improvement, but one which simplifies maintenance.
There's a good suite of easy-to-use software supplied with the Stylus DX4800. As well as a comprehensive printer driver, there are copies of the Epson Creativity Suite and Epson Scan, which includes basic OCR.