Epson Stylus Photo PX800FW review
Review Date: 18 May 2009
Price when reviewed: £234
Reviewed By: Julian Prokaza
Multifunction peripherals (MFPs) are ideal if you need an all-purpose colour printer, flatbed scanner and low-volume copier, but don't have room for separate devices.
The catch is that MFPs have always lagged behind standalone inkjets when it came to photo printing, but that's no longer the case.
As you might expect for a device that crams in so many functions, the PX800FW is a bit of brute, but it is relatively-self contained. The paper tray slots completely into the printer's base and the sheet-fed A4 scanner stacks pages on the top, but you'll still need to leave clearance in front for the paper tray.
Copy, fax and print (from memory card) functions are all handled with a large touch-sensitive panel that runs along the PX800FW's front, and this pivots and locks in position at anything up to 90° from vertical. The menu system is clearly presented, with buttons running down either side of the central colour screen, and the screen is responsive enough for tapping out fax numbers quickly.
The PX800FW isn't the fastest photocopier in the world, but it's fine for the kind of low-volume copies required by many home and small offices. The paper-handling mechanism is rather noisy, though, making this an MFP that's best positioned away from where you work. Fortunately, with both Ethernet and WiFi, this is easily achieved.
Six ink tanks (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan and light magenta) suggest the PX800FW could be a capable photo printer, but while prints are photographic, they're nowhere near as good as a standalone inkjet's. Excess contrast made images with subtle areas of shading look unnatural and this was particularly noticeable with flesh tones. Unfortunately, text output is nothing to write home about, either; output was too soft and nowhere near as black as we'd like, even in high-quality mode.
At this high price, the PX800FW doesn't produce good enough print quality for us to be able to recommend it.
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