Colour print is claimed to run at the same speed as black, 38ppm, and in draft mode it does print at the same speed as black text, but that’s around 19ppm, not 38ppm. In text and graphics mode, the printer doesn’t appear to be able to distinguish sections of black text and print them at text speed, as other inkjets do. Instead it prints all of every page at the same speed as the colour sections, achieving a time of 2:34 for our 5-page document, which is equivalent to 1.95ppm, around 1/20th of the headline speed. Somebody needs to bring some sanity back to print speed claims.
Black text quality is fair, though Epson’s text continues to be a little jagged compared to a Canon or HP machine, which is odd given its comparatively high 5,760 x 1,440dpi resolution. Colour graphics are much better, with smooth steady fill, showing no visible banding and with good registration of black text over coloured backgrounds.
In passing, it’s worth saying that draft black text mode looks like something out of a 1980s dot-matrix printer and draft colour is so faint the colours are little more than suggestions.
The place where this Epson printer shines, as with most Epson inkjets, is in its photo reproduction. Printing in Photo mode, our test image is wonderfully clear, has good colours and plenty of detail in the dark, shadowed areas. Best Photo mode is little better than Photo and for most day-to-day photo printing jobs, you should save time by sticking to the regular mode.
The new, high-capacity ink cartridges, with the black cartridge giving 995 pages and colour producing 815 pages mean you can keep maintenance costs down and keep a curb on page costs, too. At the best Internet prices we could find, this machine prints ISO black text pages at 2.9p and coloured ones at 6.92p. Both these costs are reasonable, though we’ve seen inkjet machines that better both, while costing no more to buy.
It’s good to have an inkjet printer which can produce reasonable quality print, very good in the case of photo prints, and print over 800 pages without changing cartridges. Its running costs are fair and although it’s noisy – over 25dBA louder than Epson quotes – and also much slower, particularly in colour, than the brochure declares, it’s still a good, businesslike inkjet printer. It’s cabled and wireless networking is a valuable bonus, but don’t expect to see anything like the quoted speeds.