You could be forgiven for thinking that all all-in-one machines are designed specifically for printing photos. While many are, some devices are still marketed as general-purpose home or small office, multifunction machines. That's what Epson's Stylus DX7000F is, and its low asking price reflects its position in the market.
The machine has a conventional layout, with a flatbed scanner mounted above the print engine. Paper feeds from a hopper at the rear to a fold-down tray at the front. There's a control panel on the left-hand side of the device's top surface and an oversize, spring-loaded cover on the front surface reveals two memory card slots, which between them cater for all the common types.
The control panel, which includes a number pad for the machine’s fax facilities, also includes special function buttons for copy enlargements, printing from memory cards and working with faxes. There are smaller buttons to select paper size and text or photographic prints and two large Start buttons for initiating black and colour print, together with a Stop button to cancel a running job.
The Epson web site describes the machine as having a two-line LCD display, but in fact it's only a single line of 16 characters. This means that, if you choose to print from a camera's memory card, you have to print an index sheet first, mark it up and re-scan it to select the images you want to print. You'll use less ink if you print via PictBridge and make selections using your camera’s LCD display.
Hardware setup on this machine is very simple. You lift the scanner section to reveal the permanent print head carrier, which takes four, separate ink cartridges. Once the ink has been charged, and the comprehensive software suite has been installed from the supplied CD, the machine is ready to print.
Software includes Optical Character Recognition from ABBYY and Epson's own Creative Suite, which covers all the basic functions for a device like this.
The Stylus DX7000F isn’t a quick all-in-one. Although Epson rates it at 27ppm for both black and colour print, you should really ignore those figures. Our five-page text file took 1 minute 55 seconds to print, giving 2.6ppm. We tried it in draft mode and the speed went up, but only to around 9.4ppm. Even if you exclude the page preparation time, this machine isn’t going to come close to 27ppm in normal use.