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Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW review

Verdict:

Epson's latest inkjet MFP prints brilliant photos but its other features aren't good enough to justify the price.

Review Date: 20 Apr 2010

Price when reviewed: £250

Supplier: http://www.amazon.co.uk

Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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The PX810FW is the latest A4 MFP in Epson's Photo Stylus range, with a memory card reader, touchscreen and full fax, print, scan and copy capabilities. It's aimed at users who are serious about their home photo printing and uses a set of six Epson Claria photo inks. Unlike many A4 inkjets, high capacity cartridges are available in the form of Epson's T079 Owl inks, which can lower your print costs to 7.5p from around 13p per mixed-colour page using the T080 Hummingbird inks. Another feature likely to endear the PX810FW to photographers is its dedicated photo tray for 6x4in, 7x5in or 16:9 paper.

A large front panel combines a touchscreen display with several touchpad buttons. You can use it to send faxes and carry out PC-less printing, scanning and copying options. Unfortunately it looks ugly and feels unresponsive. Many of the menus are poorly designed, like a copy enlargement screen that requires you to tap a button over-and-over to change the size.

The Windows installer lets you select which components you want, which can save a little time and disk space. You can connect the printer via USB, 10/100 Ethernet or WiFi. Wireless configuration is unnecessarily complicated. You can select your network using the touchscreen, but the only way to enter your password is by laboriously scrolling through a list of letters. You can also configure the wireless settings by connecting a USB cable during installation, but this is still unwieldy

Document printing isn't outstanding but it's better than that of some models in the same range. Draft text is pale but solid - and it's quick too at 17.6ppm. Normal text is a bit fuzzy around the edges but dark, legible and reasonably speedy at 8.1ppm. Colour documents printed at 5.5ppm - we used the printer's standard Text quality setting to achieve this speed. Colour illustrations looked a little pale but quality was usable. This MFP is at its strongest though when printing photos - all our prints looked gorgeous, with bright, accurate colours, excellent contrast and no visible dithering in shaded areas. A 6x4in print at the highest quality setting takes around one minute and 19 seconds.

Epson's scanner interface is brilliant, with various modes making it easy to use whether you want to control every detail or just click and scan. Scan speeds are quick, too - a 600dpi 6x4in photo scan took just 13 seconds. However, the 4,800x4,800dpi scanner isn't the best we've seen from Epson. It captures fine detail accurately, but some subtlety of colour and shading is lost. Colour copy quality is also a little inaccurate but we were happy with mono.

The PX810 prints stunning photos and costs surprisingly little to run but scan quality and plain paper prints are merely usable, rather than outstanding. For £250, you could easily buy better stand-alone printers and scanners, or a more well-rounded photo MFP like Canon's similarly priced Pixma MP990.

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