If you need an all-in-one printer, but have limited resources, there's still quite a wide choice of machines at the entry-level. Epson's Stylus SX100 is a shiny black and grey model, offering basic facilities at a modest price.
This is a small all-in-one, following a very conventional design. Paper feeds from a fold-up paper tray at the rear, through to a fold-down paper tray at the front. A Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanner handles documents up to A4 and there's a simple but adequate control panel down the left-hand side. This includes separate buttons for black and colour text copies and one for a colour photo copy.
There are no facilities for connecting a PictBridge camera and the only connection is a USB 2.0 socket at the rear, but at least you don't have a power adapter block kicking around under your desk, as Epson has always built its power units inside its printers.
Hinge up the scanner section of the machine onto its spring-loaded ‘bonnet stay' and you can clip the four, separate ink cartridges into the head carrier. Software installation is just as simple and there's a copy of ABBYY Finereader for OCR, as well as useful tools from Epson for printing Web pages and basic photo editing.
We don't want you to think we're having a go at Epson, but the speed claims the company makes for this printer are more ridiculous than any we've seen before. According to Epson, the Stylus SX100 can print black text at up to 26ppm and colour at up to 14ppm.
Our five-page text print completed in 2mins 6secs, a speed of 2.38ppm, less than a tenth of the claimed speed. The 20-page text print did little to improve this, taking 8min 29secs, a speed of 2.36ppm. The five-page text and colour graphics print took a staggering 6mins 5secs, a speed of 0.82ppm, less than one page each minute.
These prints are in normal print mode, which most people use most of the time. If you've seen typical draft output from this printer, you can see why - see above for an example of both draft and normal print.
To be completely fair to the company, we repeated our five-page text print in draft mode and removed the six seconds processing time before pages started to feed. The Stylus SX100 still only managed 13.6ppm, half the rated speed. To be able to get close to 26ppm, the text document would have to be very short, no more than a couple of lines. All you're really measuring then is paper feed speed.