Epson explains in its spec sheet that its print speeds are measured in draft mode and without taking into account processing time. Our tests are measured in normal mode and do take account of processing time, since you will have to, when you print. We saw a maximum black text print speed of 7.74ppm when printing a 20-page document, which is OK, but not exceptional. What is more impressive is a colour print speed, which is nearly as quick at 6.12ppm.
However the most impressive performance of all is the speed at which the machine can produce a 15 x 10cm photo print. By plugging in SD card in the front, we produced a very acceptable photo in just 21 seconds. This is far and away the fastest photo print we've seen from an all-in-one this year.
If it had been a rubbish print, we wouldn't have been as amazed, but it shows very good levels of detail, strong but natural colours and no noticeable blemishes we could see. The other photos in our tests are similarly good, though are standard test photo from a PC produced rather dark shadows.
Print on plain paper is fair, though Epson has never been king of the smooth, jet-black text page. There's a slight jaggedness to the characters here and text looks dark grey rather than inkjet black, perhaps because of the use of a dye-based black ink as part of the Claria set. Colours on plain paper are generally good, though we did notice mucky bands in areas of solid colours based on yellow. The printer was supplied with its cartridges in place and this might have caused some slight black-on-yellow contamination.
There are six colour inks in this machine, with light cyan and light magenta added to the normal CMYK four. For some reason Epson recommends a lower-capacity set of six inks, types T0801-6, though the machine is capable of running with the higher capacity T0791-6 set, which works out cheaper. These are the inks we used in calculating running costs.
An ISO black page should cost you just under 2.5p, which is a good mid-range price for an inkjet, while an ISO colour page works out at 10.2p, which is quite a bit higher than from normal four-colour inkjets. They average around 7.5p, with all costs including 0.7p for paper.
This is an excellent bit of design work from Epson, producing a smart and effective photo all-in-one, with the extra facilities of dual-paper feed, CD/DVD printing and a convenient touch-panel for control. There are one or two hitches, including wireless installation and the level of noise the machine makes, but neither are enough to deny it a Recommended Award.