Can the Stylus Photo PX660 print at 38ppm in black and 37ppm in colour, as Epson claims? Our five page black text print took 1:08, giving 4.4ppm in normal mode, 20 seconds (15ppm) in draft mode and 4:18 (4.7ppm) for 20 pages in normal mode. At no point did it approach 20ppm, let alone 38ppm. Five pages of colour print took 1:27, a speed of 3.5ppm.
We’re sufficiently irritated by Epson’s continual hype of its print speeds, we also tried this test. We created a special document, containing just one line of text (pretty atypical). We printed five of these, in draft mode and excluded the processing time.
It took six seconds, from the start of the first sheet moving to the final one dropping on the output tray. That’s 50ppm; quite a bit more than the 38ppm claimed. If, however, you include the time before the print starts, while the printer checks things like ink levels, it took 24 seconds, a speed of 12.5ppm, less than half the claim.
Since you have to wait for both printing and processing before you can use the document, we can’t see any reason for excluding the processing time in print speed specs. The practice is common to several printer manufacturers, but Epson’s and Brother’s claims are the furthest from reality.
The quality of the prints is largely what you’d expect from Epson. Black text in normal mode is reasonably well reproduced, though it can be a little fuzzy in emboldened headlines and cross heads. Draft mode text is very different, looking jaggy and faint. It also comes through in dark brown rather than black, which doesn't make it particularly good to look at.
Colour graphics are generally good, though we noticed some banding in filled areas of business graphs. The colour copy lost quite a bit of the original’s colour depth, though it’s still usable. Photo prints are very good, with smooth, natural colours and good levels of detail.
Being a six-colour printer, running costs are set to be a little higher than with four-colour machines. At the best prices we could find, an ISO black page costs 3.1p and an equivalent colour one costs 10.3p. The black cost is about average for this class of machine, though the colour cost is a penny or so higher than some competitors.
This is a good, middleweight all-in-one, aimed at the photo enthusiast, rather than the small business customer. It's easy to use and offers interesting extras, such as direct CD/DVD print and touch panel controls. Print quality is on a par with other Epson machines and the print speed is reasonable, though a long, long way off the manufacturer’s claims.