Epson claims that the Stylus Photo PX720WD can print 40 black or colour pages per minute in draft mode. We saw a maximum of 12.5ppm printing our 20-page document as a draft and don’t see how the printer could ever reach over three times this speed.
In normal mode, black text speed varied between 6.3ppm and 8.0ppm, depending on the length of the document. This is still a good speed and it’s hard to see why Epson has to hype up the numbers. Our 5-page black text and colour graphics document gave 5.6ppm, which is again good performance.
A single-page colour copy took a surprisingly long 54s, with short pauses between some passes of the print head. We repeated the test and saw the same hesitation. It’s a lot better when printing photos, though, where a 15 x 10 cm image took around 53s at the highest print quality and a mere 28s in normal mode.
Plain paper print is fair, without being up to the standard of Canon, HP or Kodak machines. Black text is slightly spiky from where ink has run along the paper fibres, though for most applications it should be fine. Draft text is very light, with jagged diagonals and curves and is probably not what you’d want to give to friends or customers.
Colour graphics are OK, with smooth fills, though shades of blue have a slight mauve cast and in copies, yellow and orange shades can look muddy. Photo prints, however, where the six print colours come into their own, are very good. Natural hues predominate with reds, greens and blues all looking very natural. There’s plenty of colour in the darker shades, too, giving a balanced appearance overall.
Inks are available in two yields, in cartons depicting either a hummingbird, the standard yield, or an owl for high yield. Using the owl cartridges give a black print page cost of 2.8p and a colour one of 10.6p. The black page cost is good, though that for colour is a little on the high side, reflecting the extra inks which have to be factored in.
Epson’s Stylus Photo PX720WD is ideal for those interested in printing images directly from their own photos and getting the best from them. It’s six colour print produces beautiful colours quickly and with plenty of detail. It’s not so good on plain paper, but for day-to-day print is good enough in most circumstances.