- Fax with five speed-dials
- Presto! PageManager 9SE bundled
- Wireless connection as standard
- Low print speeds, particularly in colour
- Jaggy black text print
- Noisy paper feed
- Review Price: £68.17
- Fax functionality
- Two-line, text-based LCD display
- Easy maintenance ink cartridges
- Good, dual-platform software bundle
- Automatic Document Feeder
The printer follows the general lines of Epson’s recent releases, with its signature wave-shaped top to its fold-out, 30-sheet Automatic Document Feed (ADF) tray. The only paper feed is a near-vertical tray at the rear, which Epson rates at 120 sheets, but since that’s of 64gsm paper, you’ll be lucky to get 100 sheets of 80gsm into it. The paper feeds to a two-stage, pull-out tray at the front.
The control panel, which has a textured grey surface and is fitted at a fixed angle, is quite crowded, with a large square for menu navigation, buttons to start and stop jobs, a number pad and five, fax quick-dial buttons. There’s a two-line, text-only LCD display with no backlight, but good contrast, so it shows up well under overhead light.
There are no memory card slots or PictBridge socket in this machine, though, given its low price and target market, this is understandable.
At the back of the left-hand side are three sockets for USB, phone line and third-party handset. Most people will probably opt for wireless connection, though, which is standard. It can be set up through WPS setup with a couple of button presses, or you can enter a passcode, using the number pad.
Fold up the whole of the scanner section and you can get at the print head and its four ink cartridges. These clip in very easily and after the obligatory pumping are ready to print.
The Stylus Office BX305FW runs under Windows and OS X and there’s a copy of Presto! PageManager 9 Standard included, to handle document management and OCR on both platforms. Other Epson software is provided, including applications for basic photo manipulation and printing Web pages.
Epson is among the most ‘optimistic’ manufacturers when it comes to print speeds. It claims speeds of 34ppm and 15ppm for black and colour print on this machine. Even assuming were talking draft mode, that’s still considerably faster than you’re likely to see in real life. Our five-page black text document returned a speed of 3.6ppm and, although the draft mode speed measured 12.5ppm, that’s quite a bit less than half the claimed speed.
Our five-page black text and colour graphics document was printed at 1.3ppm and this is pretty slow, even for a machine like this one, costing well under £100. A single-page colour copy took 53s and the five-page text copy from the ADF took 1:34, neither of which is particularly impressive. Finally, a 15 x 10cm photo on glossy paper took a very slow 3:24. In normal mode, it still took 1:33.
The text prints we produced are usual Epson fair, with noticeable jaggies around many characters, easily visible without magnification. Draft text is very light and looks like the output from a dot-matrix printer which hasn’t seen a fresh ribbon in a while.
Colour graphics come out bright and smooth. Although there are dither patterns in evidence, these are only apparent when you look closely and black text over colour shows no signs of ink bleed. The colour copy maintains its colours well, though areas of solid fill look blotchier than in the original. Colour photos are well reproduced, with good levels of detail and colours which look as they should.
Two sets of cartridges are compatible with this printer, offering standard and high yields. Even the high-yield versions only average 400 pages, though, with the standard yield ones nearer to 180 pages. Epson doesn’t price them expensively, so the cost per page comes out at 3.3p for black and 10.2p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. While not cheap, you won’t find much better costs for a printer at this price.
Epson’s Stylus Office BX305FW is a serviceable all-in-one for office use, with a bonus of full fax support and an ADF for scanning and copying multi-page documents. Print quality is only average and speeds are definitely on the slow side, but for under £70 at online prices, you get quite a bit of printer for your money.
Score in detail
Print Speed 6
Print Quality 7
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