This isn’t a particularly quick printer and to get the times we finally saw out of the black text test, we had to manually tell the driver we were printing in black only. Even then, it took nearly one and three quarter minutes to complete, or 2.9ppm. The combined text and graphics page wasn’t much quicker, completing in 45 seconds, a lazy 1.3ppm. Epson’s draft page must be very simple, if it can print 20 of them in a minute.
As mentioned earlier, printing photos from a memory card in standalone mode is a bit convoluted, as you have to print an index sheet first and mark up the images you want. The print time of 1:41 recorded here, includes scanning the sheet and downloading the selected image. It’s not much quicker direct from a PictBridge camera, though.
Text print quality is not all it could be, either. While there’s little bleed of the Durabrite inks into the paper, jagged edges to diagonals and curves are quite apparent and areas of solid colour suffer from micro-banding, where you can see each line of dots. Photo images, at the device’s maximum interpolated resolution of 5,760 x 1,440dpi, are much better, and our test piece came through well, with good levels of detail in the shadows and clean coloured gradations.
Each of the ink cartridges can be replaced separately on this machine and a complete set will cost you around £25, half of some rival models’. Strangely, the capacity of the black cartridge appears low compared with those of the colour cartridges, so you’ll be replacing it more often, too. We only managed 207 pages at five per cent cover, before the driver claimed the cartridge was empty and refused to continue printing. Epson quotes 380 pages from this cartridge.
The colour test piece did much better, and was still going strong at 400, 20 per cent pages, though it finally ground to a halt at 418, still short of Epson’s 480-page claim. This gives page costs of 3.39p for black text and 36.7p for colour images, on photo paper.
This is an inexpensive device for anybody with simple requirements for a printer, scanner and copier. The lack of an LCD monitor and its print speed count against it, but print quality and running costs are reasonable for a machine at this price.
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