The prints we produced were of fair quality, though photo output was definitely better than text or graphics. The text pages showed quite irregular characters and in some cases you could see mis-registration between lines of print. For general use, they’d probably be OK, but the output is definitely not among the best we’ve seen. Colour graphics were much better, cleanly reproduced and with good solid fills and no notable dither patterns. The paper nap showed through in places, though.
A photo printer should obviously be best at photographs and the images we produced were sharp and well-coloured, though some of the shadow detail was lost. In borderless prints, images were rather over-enlarged and edge detail printed off the paper.
Print times were also fair, when the printer wasn’t performing cleaning cycles, but it did this at the start of several print runs, even though they were all undertaken within a few minutes of each other. The times we recorded were best case runs but, for example, our first 15 x 10cm print run took two minutes 24 seconds, with 16 seconds of that being the printer’s preparation time.
Epson has started to quote its page yields based on the new ISO standard. Not all printer manufacturers are doing this, but to give you some idea, the standard uses a mixture of photographic, text and line art elements, so the rate of use of each colour of ink varies. The figures quoted for the Stylus Photo R265 are 300 pages for black, 900 for cyan, 440 for magenta, 460 for yellow, 410 for light cyan and 590 for light magenta.
Currently, TrustedReviews uses test pieces which print exactly five per cent coverage for black or a colour and with these pages we produced 201 black pages and 225 colour ones. This gives a page cost of 3.85p for a five per cent black text page and 62p for 25 per cent colour. Both figures are high, but if you normalise the coverage for colour to a four-colour printer, where you have 15 per cent colour applied, the colour print cost comes down to 41p, which is more reasonable.
While the Stylus Photo R265 reproduces photos well for robust finished prints, plain text printing is not nearly as good, running costs are higher than average and print speeds are not impressive. Although the price of the machine is low and you have the convenience of CD printing, there’s better value to be had, even at this comparatively low price point.