Epson Stylus Photo PX710W review
All-in-one printers aimed at photo enthusiasts are a key part of all the major printer manufacturers' inkjet ranges. Epson's latest take on the genre is the Stylus Photo PX710W, and the company has included several innovations to challenge its competitors' offerings.
For a start, the printer has a low-profile, as the flatbed scanner is set well into the top, so its lid fits flush with the surround. The front and back panels, which in most of Epson's earlier all-in-one printers would be broken up by paper trays, are now completely free of these when the device isn't in use, and the output tray slides out telescopically from behind a fold-down flap when you need to print. There's a two-tray cassette that slides in from the front, under the output tray, and you can load around 100 sheets of plain and 20 sheets of photo paper at the same time.
When you press the CD/DVD button on the control panel an integrated disc tray slides out from the bowels of the machine to take a suitably-coated disc for direct printing. This is a much neater solution than a separate disk carrier.
The big screen
The control panel folds out to any of seven angles, though the intermediate positions feel a bit spongy. There's a 63mm LCD screen for previewing photos and displaying menus, with easy-to-use navigation buttons to the right, along with a large copy button. To the left of the display are mode and function keys.
At the bottom of the front panel, to the right of the paper trays, are two memory card slots, one for SD and MemoryStick, and the other for CompactFlash. This means if you have a Fujifilm camera with xD storage, you'll need to buy an adaptor.
There are two sockets on the back panel to connect the Stylus Photo PX710W for USB or Ethernet 10/100 networking, but many people buying it will go for the wireless connection, which is simple enough to set up, once you've made it search for networks and entered any necessary WPA passcode. Drivers are on the supplied CD and cover basic print and scan tasks.
This is a six-colour printer, with light cyan and light magenta added to the normal CMYK mix. Unusually, the cartridges in this machine aren't mounted in the head carrier, but are fixed and connected to the heads via flexible tubes. This makes them particularly easy to fit, and after charging and head alignment, you're ready to go.
Epson rates this machine at a speed of 'up to 40ppm', which it might achieve in draft mode, with one line of text on each page. For those who create more conventional pages, our tests suggest you're likely to see around 7ppm on simple text documents and just under 6ppm on those with colour graphics.
These are both very reasonable speeds for a printer aimed primarily at photo printing, but all the printer manufacturers have set themselves up to play the high numbers game, competing with each other. Where the Stylus Photo PX710W does rather better than its rivals is in its photo print speed. A 15 x 10cm photo printed from a Mac or a memory card takes just under 30 seconds. This is pretty quick and means that you could run off a series of photos without having to leave them overnight.
The photos look good, too. Epson's larger photo printers are very highly regarded and the Stylus Photo PX710W takes a lot from this technology. Colours are soft and natural on landscapes, but capable of good vivid tones where necessary. Because of the two extra, light colours, skies and other pale subjects are particularly well reproduced.