The Stylus SX525WD is rated at 36ppm in both black and colour, though the spec quotes draft speeds. Even so, it's way above what you're likely to see in normal use. Our five-page black text print produced 8.6ppm in normal print mode and 9.7ppm in draft. This is because it takes quite a lot of time to process pages before printing actually starts, a common exclusion in quoted print speeds.
On the longer 20-page test, the speed rose to 12.9ppm. These are all good speeds for an inkjet printer and it's a shame Epson feels it has to exaggerate to put big numbers on the box. If all printer manufacturers started quoting real-world print speeds, customers would have a much better idea of relative performance.
Duplex print is a standard feature and the same 20-page document, printed as a 10-page duplex job, completed in 2mins 48s, a speed of 7.1 sides per minute. This is also a good result, particularly when compared with machines from Canon's PIXMA range, which are notoriously slow when printing double-sided.
Despite what the specs say, printing colour on this machine is a lot slower than printing black, and our five-page black text and colour graphics test produced a speed of just 1.5ppm. A colour copy took a fairly laid-back 53s and 15 x 10 cm photos took between 1min 14s and 2mins 11s, depending on source and quality mode.
The prints themselves are typical of Epson output, with slight fuzziness around bold headings and some jaggies and mis-registrations in what is otherwise passable print. Draft text uses a completely different font set and looks more like old dot-matrix print.
Colours are solid and clean and black text over colour backgrounds is well registered, though greens and blues can come through rather dark. Photo prints show very smooth colours and textures, thanks to the comparatively high resolution of 5,760 by 1,440dpi. Again, though, colours come through a little dark so some shadow detail is lost.
Ink cartridges are available in two capacities and using the high-capacity 'Stag' set gives page costs of 2.6p for black and 6.6p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. These are very good for a printer in this price bracket and while not at the Kodak level, should mean running costs are at below average.
Epson's Stylus SX525WD is a well-designed inkjet all-in-one for those who don't need multi-page scanning or direct CD/DVD print. It includes duplex print and wireless connection, perhaps the two most popular print innovations of the last couple of years, and prints very quickly for a machine at this price. It's cheap to run and the only question mark is over its plain paper print quality.