You might be forgiven for thinking that Epson's Stylus Photo R265 is an all-in-one machine, it's that bulky. Quite why it has to be as high off the desk or as deep in its body is hard to fathom, but as long as space isn't a problem, at first sight it has a lot to offer.
Coloured in black and silver, the machine really is substantial, with what is styled to look like a control panel running the full width of its front. There are only three buttons, for power, ink replacement and page eject, set at its centre, though. Behind the panel is a large, silver top-cover, which lifts to reveal a cartridge carrier with six, push-fit, colour ink cartridges. As its name suggests, this is a photo printer and includes light cyan and light magenta inks as well as the four main colours.
At the back, a hinged cover folds up and extends to become the paper support and at the front, a click-down panel opens to reveal a telescopic output tray. A lever at the side of this tray shifts it up into a fully horizontal position, where it can be used as a support for the supplied CD/DVD carrier, for direct disc printing.
Just above the output tray is a PictBridge socket, so you can connect your digital camera directly to the printer to print photos. Otherwise, there's a USB 2.0 socket at the rear, for connection to your PC.
The usual array of Epson software is bundled with the Stylus Photo R265, including Web-to Page, which helps print web pages so you don't lose the right-hand edge of each one, and Easy Photo Print, which offers multiple images per sheet. Set up is simple, as you just clip in the cartridges, run the CD and plug in the printer.
Epson claims a lot for its Claria, dye-based inks, including that they’re very smudge and water-resistant. This is true of most dyes when used with absorbent paper, of course, but you shouldn’t have any trouble with smudging here, even if you stack prints straight from the printer.
The company also claims fade resistance of 200 years, but in an album. This means the test prints were covered and kept mostly in the dark when tested; you would expect long life under these conditions.