Epson hasn’t got over its fairly ludicrous way of measuring speeds and quotes 32 pages per minute (ppm) in both black and colour for the Expression XP-605. Our five-page black text test gave 8.1ppm, with 10.3ppm in draft mode. The 20-page document gave 11.1ppm, but this was the highest speed we saw from the printer, nearly a third of the specified figure.
Not that that speed’s bad, in comparison with other machines in the same price bracket, though the black text and colour graphics test only returned 4.8ppm, not much more than half the real-world black speed.
Epson has improved its machine’s duplex print speed and our 10-page, 20-side test produced 5.3 sides per minute. A single page colour copy took a nippy 22s and 15 x 10cm photos took between 43s and 1:07; again impressive. The machine can print from mobile devices, thanks to Epson’s iPrint app, probably the most flexible print routine we’ve seen for an Android device.
Print quality is fair on black text, with a slightly cleaner rendition of small characters than from previous Epson home engines. Draft mode fonts are considerably better than before; pale but very readable. Colour graphics on plain paper are intense, with good black text over colour.
A colour copy wasn’t as good, with quite a lot of ink spread and difficult to read reversed text. Photos, as usual from Epson machines, were clean and bright, with plenty of definition and good colour rendition.
The five ink cartridges are available in two capacities, with the highest capacity giving 500 pages of black and 700 pages of colour per cartridge. However, current pricing makes the machine quite expensive to run, with black page costs coming out at 3.8p and colour ones at 9.8p. The cartridges are a new design, so these costs may fall over time.
The Epson Expression XP-605 is an interesting development for Epson, as it tries to move into the lifestyle printer market. While the machine includes interesting features such as duplex and direct CD/DVD printing and is quite fast, it’s also expensive to run. Niggles, like the rough action of the paper tray, suggest it’s been feature-reduced from a more expensive model.