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Multifunction machines, which combine printing with scanning and copying, are a growth area in the printer market, as are printers which produce prints from digital photos. Epson has now produced a photo all-in-one, aiming to hit both markets at once.
The Stylus Photo RX520 is a conventionally designed multi-function device, with paper feeding from the back and ejecting onto a front tray. This tray projects very little from the front of the machine. Most of its top surface is taken up by a flat-bed scanner which, interestingly, can be used to scan transparencies as well as paper originals. This gives the machine extra functionality for anybody wanting to transfer slides to digital format.
In front of the scanner is a well-appointed control panel, enabling easy operation of the copy and scan functions. The LCD display has a mere 38mm diagonal, which is big enough for displaying instructions and status screens, but is a little small for working with photos from memory cards. It’s actually not as big as the displays on many digital cameras.
The RX520 isn’t exactly the most convenient device to use, either. The memory card reader is slung underneath the sloped control panel at the front, behind a swivelling smoked plastic cover. This is a bit awkward to use and also requires a cut-out in the paper exit tray to accommodate it. It would be a lot more convenient if the memory card slots were built into the control panel. More awkward still, if you need to print envelopes on the device, you have to reach right into its bowels to find the paper/envelope select lever.
The device takes four separate ink cartridges, which clip into a head carrier - this is easy to get at, once you’ve hinged the scanner section out of the way. The USB cable has to be fed through a channel in the printer’s casing to plug in internally near the front of the machine.
Software supplied includes ArcSoft’s PhotoImpression 5, which is a worthwhile photo editor, as well as several Epson utilities for Web and photo printing.