You can often pick up a printer bargain by checking out the special offers on manufacturers’ sites. At the time of writing, the Stylus SX425W can be picked up for around £50, which, all things being equal, should make it one of them. So, how equal are all things?
This is a conventionally designed machine from Epson with a telescoping paper support at the back, feeding up to 120 sheets (though that’s 65gsm paper, around 100 sheets of 80gsm) through to another extending tray at the front. You load either plain paper or photo paper in the same feed tray and have to remember to extend the front output tray, before starting to print.
The control panel lies to the left of the flatbed scanner cover, which has a pattern of minute, embossed dots relieving its otherwise piano-black surface. Controls include buttons for power, mode selection, paper size and Start and Stop functions. In the middle of these is a 38mm, colour LCD screen, surrounded by five buttons for number of copies and menu navigation. Although the screen is small, it's well-used with simple, easily-understood icons.
At the front, below the lip of the scanner section, is a single memory card slot, which can take SD, MemoryStick and xD cards. It would be good to have a front panel PictBridge/USB socket, too.
At the back of the left-hand side panel is a single USB socket, as an alternative to the printer’s wireless networking provision, which is still relatively unusual on a machine at this price. Wireless setup is straightforward and a passcode is surprisingly easy to enter, even though you can only cycle through the alphanumerics with two keys.
This is a four-colour printer and each of the ink tanks clips into the piezoelectric printhead in the normal, Epson manner. Two cartridge capacities are available, which is again unusual in a machine costing £50.
Bundled software includes a copy of Abbyy FineReader for OCR, in both Windows and OS X versions, and Epson’s Easy PhotoPrint, as well as assorted utilities and drivers. Installation is straightforward, though there's no sign of Linux support on Epson's website.