Epson Stylus Photo PX710W review
Top-quality photos at fast speeds, along with a good design and low running costs. Only text lets it down
The phrase "high definition" has now permeated the mainstream in terms of video quality, and Epson is riding on the back of that with its own brand of "Hi-Definition" photos - apparently those that "exceed lab quality". Whatever the definition, there's no doubt the quality of images from the Epson Stylus Photo PX710W is impressively high.
Its six-cartridge engine uses the company's Claria inks to good effect, with our test photo prints showing off superb detail and vibrant colours. Edges were sharp and defined, gradients were smooth, and the only major difference compared to the A-Listed Canon MP640 is the slightly lighter tone, which is a matter of preference.
Those prints come out at a decent rate, too, with a 6 x 4in best quality photo taking 1min 14secs, rising to just under two minutes for an A4 print. Its document printing is faster, with mono prints feeding out at 9ppm and colour at 5.8ppm - both quite a bit nippier than the Canon.
The compromise, as you might expect, is quality, with text not living up to those high standards. It's grey rather than black, with slightly frayed edges and an uneven look to lines of characters. Solid areas of black show up this paleness all too well, and the lack of sharpness is evident in white-on-colour text. Colours are generally accurate, though, so it won't disappoint too much as long as the photo side of things is your main priority.
The scanner is impressively sharp, albeit with slightly pale colours. This means copies look washed out, so you'll want to raise the density a little for better results. Both scans and copies are quick: a 300ppi 6 x 4in photo scanned in just 12 seconds and colour A4 copies rolled out at 5ppm.
The printer itself is flatter and lower than most. The paper tray in the base has a separate photo compartment, and prints feed onto an output tray above it that extends outwards. There's also a CD printing tray that pops out at the touch of a button. The menu system is easily navigable, even if there are a few too many buttons on the interface for our liking, and the 2.5in colour LCD is adequate.
Interestingly, buying the six inks individually from Amazon proves cheaper than buying the multipack, and will give you a mono page cost of 2p and 6.9p for colour. This low cost, along with the Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections, goes some way to compensate for the PX710W's £130 exc VAT purchase price.
But you get those connections with the Canon MP640, too, and for less. The Epson PX710W is an excellent photo printer with a very good scanner and low running costs, but its slightly iffy text output makes it less of an all-rounder. With the Canon capable of producing both top-class photos and text, we find ourselves leaning to our existing A List incumbent - but it's a close-run thing.
|Price ex VAT||£130|
|Price inc VAT||£150|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||5|
|Resolution printer final||5760 x 1440dpi|
|Integrated TFT screen?||yes|
|Rated/quoted print speed||40PPM|
|Maximum paper size||A4|
|Cost per A4 mono page||2.0p|
|Cost per A4 colour page||6.9p|
Power and noise
|Peak noise level||34.0dB(A)|
|Dimensions||446 x 385 x 150mm (WDH)|
|Fax page memory||N/A|
|6x4in photo print time||1min 14s|
|A4 photo print time||1min 55s|
|Mono print speed (measured)||9ppm|
|Colour print speed||6ppm|
|Input tray capacity||120 sheets|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Compact Flash reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|USB flash drive support?||yes|
|Other memory media support||MD, MMC|
|Operating system Windows 7 supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows Vista supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows XP supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows 2000 supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows 98SE supported?||no|
|Other operating system support||Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above|
|Software supplied||ABBYY FineReader 6 Sprint Plus, EpsonEasy Photo Print, Epson Creativity Suite|