- Easy wireless setup
- Compact dimensions
- OCR software included
- Black text print quality only average
- A lot slower than specs suggest
- No direct USB print
- Review Price: £80.00
- Neat design, particularly when closed
- Wireless connection as standard
- Inexpensive black print
- Choice of ink cartridge yields
- Print wirelessly from range of devices
Decked out completely in black plastic, it certainly has a smaller footprint when closed than many others. It’s a bit bigger all round than a landscape A4 sheet, but is still comparatively discreet. Flick forward the dust flap at the back of the machine and raise the telescopic paper support and you have a feed tray where you can load up to 100 sheets of plain paper, or a stack of photo blanks.
At the front, the control panel hinges forward and clicks into its slanted, open position. Its output tray then pulls forward, with a flip-over paper stop. A rather cheap and cheerful scanner lid lifts to reveal a simple Contact Image Sensor (CIS) flatbed scanner. The lid hinge doesn’t raise, making it a bit awkward to scan from a book.
The control panel itself is conspicuous by having no LCD display. It gets by quite well with five LED indicators, including two for the wireless link, and six buttons, for power, Wi-Fi, a network status print, black and colour copies, and job cancel.
As well as a USB socket at the back of the left-hand side panel, the printer can connect directly to a wireless router and doesn’t need to connect temporarily via USB, if you’re router supports WPS setup.
Lift the main scanner section and the four ink cartridges clipped into the permanent printhead swing into view. We’re not sure why Epson needs quite so many different cartridge ranges, when they all appear to deliver very similar amounts of ink in similar form factors, but here you can use the Fox or Apple sets, depending on the yield and price you want.
Even though this is a budget printer, Epson includes a copy of Abbyy FinerReader OCR as well as its own utility and driver software. It supports Windows and OS X and there’s a Linux driver available, as well.
Epson claims speeds of 30ppm for black print and 15ppm for colour from the Stylus SX235W, but these must have been achieved under very interesting conditions. In our real-world tests we saw a draft black text speed of 7.7ppm, the fastest available from the machine. Printing in normal mode saw black speeds of 3.7ppm for the 5-page document, increasing only slightly to 3.9ppm for the 20-page one.
The Text and colour graphics print was slower still, at 1.1ppm and a 15 x 10cm photo took 3:24 at best print quality. There are no memory card slots or a USB socket on the machine, for direct printing. A single page colour copy from the flatbed took 1:04. None of these speeds is at all impressive, even compared with all-in-ones in the same budget market, but for home use many people will be able to live with them.
Print quality is OK, though character shape is sometimes damaged by jagged edges and occasionally slight misalignment from pass to pass of the black print head. Draft mode text is very pale and uses a different font from normal mode, so we doubt many customers would use it.
Colour print on plain paper is good, with bright, attention-grabbing colours, little noticeable banding or blotchiness and with excellent registration of black text over colour backgrounds. A colour copy was reasonable, though some degradation is obvious and reversed text, white on black, lost definition. Photo print, although this machine isn’t designed as a photo printer, is excellent, with natural colours and plenty of detail in the difficult to reproduce darker shades.
Using the more economical Apple set of inks gives a cost per page of 2.2p for black and 10.7p the colour. The black cost is good for this class of machine, though the colour cost is a bit high.
If funds are limited, you can still get a very serviceable all-in-one printer by choosing Epson’s Stylus SX235W. While print quality overall is nothing special, it’s still very usable and all the basic functions, with the possible exception of direct USB print, are in place. The small physical size of the machine makes it particularly well-suited to bedsits and smaller accommodation.
Score in detail
Print Speed 6
Print Quality 7
|Connection Type||Ethernet, USB|
|Extra Features||Small size|
|Number of Catridges||4|
|Sheet Capacity||100 sheets|
|Print Resolution (Dots per inch)||5760 x 1440dpi|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||30ipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||15ipm|
|Max Paper Weight||90g/sm|
|Print Without PC||Yes|
|Scan Resolution (Dots per inch)||1200 x 2400dpi|