Epson has stopped leading on the draft print speeds it used to quote and now offers normal mode speeds, 15ppm black and 9.3ppm colour for this machine. Our 5-page black text document completed in 27s, which is 11.1ppm and the longer, 20-page one returned 14.1ppm, only a smidgen off the stated figure.
The 5-page colour print took 56s, though, which is only 5.4ppm. Still, both of these speeds are more than respectable for a colour inkjet printer and the black print speed is the fastest we've seen for a good while.
Copy speeds are also a cut above the normal with a single-page, colour copy taking just 22s and a 5-page black copy from the ADF coming through in 1:05. Photo prints take around the 1:20 mark, which is also on the quick side of average.
You do pay for some of these high print speeds with the occasional glitch in quality. A slight fuzziness to characters turns out to be a combination of the occasional missed registration of one print line with the next and some run of ink into the paper, but this will probably only be annoying to the more fastidious customer.
Colour print on plain paper is generally good and black text registration is pretty much spot on, but we did see some striping in areas of colour fill. This could be our particular review sample, though.
Photo prints are of high quality, with a good range of natural colours, and sharply drawn detail. Although this machine isn't billed as a photo printer, it does a pretty good job for a four-ink machine.
It's hard not to reach the conclusion that Epson is trying to steer customers towards more expensive consumables. The recommended inks for the Stylus Office BX610FW are the Cheetah set (the ones with a cheetah on their boxes), which offer yields of around 300 pages for about £8 a throw, while the ‘also available’ Rhino set (rhino on their boxes) gives 700 to 1,000 pages for £11 to £18, a much more economical choice.
When questioned, the company says it’s trying to keep the individual purchase price down for the customer, but this machine is intended for the office, where the greater long-term economy is more important.
The cost per page we calculate at 2.5p for black and 6.2p for colour, including 0.7p paper cost. These figures are very good for a machine in this class and although a full set of cartridges may set you back £50, you're not going to be buying them every week.
The Stylus Office BX610FW certainly has the speed needed for an office printer, beating several budget colour lasers we’ve tested. The print quality is not up to laser standards, but is fine for general day-to-day use. Print costs are low and there's a good range of features included in this machine. It’s a bit noisy and there's no duplexer, but for the asking price this is an excellent, colour all-in-one.