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All-in-one printers aimed at the photo enthusiast are getting more and more sophisticated and Epson's Stylus Photo PX710W has taken up the challenge laid down by the latest Canon and HP machines. It's also taken up their large footprints.
The PX710W is a big, black beast, with nicely rounded lines and an inset scanner, which sits below the top of the control panel. The scanner top has an attractive matt finish, with high-gloss black dots and a gloss surround.
The control panel, which can be hinged up and locked in any of seven positions, though with a rather spongy feel, has a bright, 63mm LCD screen with a large bold square of nine navigation buttons to the right and two, specialist selection buttons to the left.
Further left is a four-way mode-selection button, a power button and one to bring forward the integral, powered CD/DVD tray. To the right of the navigation square is a large Start button and one to cancel print jobs.
At the bottom right of the front panel are twin memory card slots, one for CompactFlash cards, and a dual-function PictBridge and USB drive socket. The paper tray, which can take around 100 sheets of plain paper, has a second, photo tray integrated with it and you can leave both trays loaded with paper and switch between them through software.
The output tray is a telescopic affair, as is normal width Epson printers, but this one pulls out from behind a flip-down cover, which can be closed up when the printer is not in use. At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet, but many purchasers will choose to use the wireless connection.
This is a six-ink printer and, unusually for Epson, all six cartridges plug into a stationery holder, which links to the piezoelectric head through flexible tubes. It only takes a moment to plug the cartridges in, though head alignment isn't automatic and you have to enter numbers to pick the best samples from a print out.
The PX710W comes with drivers for Windows and OS X and linking for a wireless connection is very easy, using Epson's firmware Wizard. Software installation, which includes a copy of Abbyy Finereader, is unusually slow, but at least you only have to do it once.