The quoted A4 print speed of 30ppm isn’t realistic when printing in normal mode – as we do – though you might get somewhere near it in draft. The best we could achieve was 17ppm, and this with our five page text and graphics print. Even though it include graphics, it was quicker to print than straight text, because it prints the same page five times, rather than having to rasterise five different pages. Epson claims up to 17ppm for A3 prints and we managed 12ppm, which isn’t that far off. Our 15 x 10cm photo print took just 10 seconds, or 6ppm.
Print quality was generally very good, with text almost like dry print and business graphics were clean with well-defined tints and no banding. Once we had the right settings for photos, the test photo also came out well, with smooth gradations of tint and sharply defined detail. The printer has a physical resolution of 600dpi, boosted to 1,200 by Epson’s software RI Technology
Even if you include the drum cost in your running cost calculations, as we did because a workgroup printer might print more than 100,000 pages, the running costs come out low. We calculate 1.61p per A4 page, not the lowest cost we’ve seen for a mono page, but down among the best.
Since the EPL-N2550 is sold as an A3 printer, you need to bear in mind that these costs are based on A4 pages. This is reasonable for comparison purposes, since running costs for most mono and colour lasers will be quoted in the same terms. If the majority of your work will be printing A3 pages, however, you can expect anything down to half the page yield and hence double the cost.
At second glance, the EPL-N2550 still looks expensive, though it does most of what it claims on the box. Print speeds are fanciful, but then they always are and at least this printer feeds sheets out at a good pace. It’s expandable trays make it very flexible in what it prints and print quality is certainly up to the mark. We guess it’s priced at what the market will bear but we don’t think it’s really worth £400 more than an equivalent A4 machine, such as the the EPL-N3000.