Epson Stylus DX5050 review

13 Aug 2007

If you primarily need a scanner it's the best of the group, but the rest of the package disappoints.

Price when reviewed 
44
3

The scanner is usually the weakest component in an all-in-one, so we were suitably impressed when we examined the results from Epson's Stylus DX5050. From a 150ppi document right up to our toughest 1,200ppi photo scan, the DX5050 consistently produced images that were sharper and more accurate than the rest.

It brought out minute details like the wood grain in our barn photo, and produced very realistic tones of green grass and blue sky. Text was bold, sharp and without any significant spidering or blurring, indicating perfectly accurate focus.

It isn't the quickest scanner, but that's beside the point: a time of 55 seconds for a 6 x 4in photo scan at 600ppi is by no means unreasonable, and we're sure most people would gladly wait 3mins 29secs for a 1,200ppi scan if the end result is top quality. To put it simply, if scanning is your main priority when choosing an all-in-one, the Epson should be on your shortlist.

But when it comes to the print engine, the DX5050 stumbles. It struggled to output high-quality text. Draft output was laughably faint and illegible, despite a middling speed of 12.5ppm, while normal quality slowed to a plodding 2.9ppm yet still lacked sharp edges. Photos were much better, though, with realistic skin tones and plenty of detail, so we can't help but conclude that the DX5050 is much more suitable as an imaging device than a document printer.

The driver is comprehensive and easy to use, offering a wide array of options and a full maintenance section for the easy cleaning and aligning of print heads. But try copying or scanning anything at the device itself and within minutes you'll be screaming at the woeful interface. There's just a single-digit display - allowing only nine copies at once - and no direct scanning buttons at all. Plus, draft copying requires a specific button combination that can only be found in the manual.

Then there's the flimsy output tray that fails to hold more than 40 or so sheets before they start spilling onto the floor, as well as the high running costs of 8.1p per page of text and graphics. The Epson Stylus DX5050 might have a great scanner and be affordable, but if copying and printing are your priorities steer clear.