Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD review

There are better MFPs for general office work, but Epson's PX730WD is a superb choice if you want the best scans and photo prints available

12 Dec 2011
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
125.90
inc VAT

Specifications

40ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, 150x445x458mm

Epson's Stylus Photo PX730WD is a direct replacement for the PX720WD, which won our Best Buy award, so we were keen to see if it's a worthy successor. It's a squat inkjet multifunction peripheral (MFP) comprising printer, scanner and colour copier. There's a tilting, touch-sensitive control panel with a 6.3cm colour screen which displays either various menus or the contents of a memory card inserted in one of the MFP's slots.

The PX730WD's specifications reflect the fact that it's aimed at photographers and other creative users. It can scan with a high 2,400x4,800dpi resolution, while the printer is based on a long-standing Epson engine that's been at the heart of many of our favourite photo inkjets. Its six-ink setup includes light cyan and magenta inks, which should give the printer exacting control of lighter shades without individual dots of ink becoming visible.

Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD

Epson has recently updated its inkjet setup program to give the user more choice over which components are installed, but things seem more complex than necessary when it comes to choosing which of the MFP's three interfaces you'll be using. We tested using a wired Ethernet connection, but this is only activated once the wireless interface is switched off from the printer's control panel; you can't connect computers through a mix of Ethernet and wireless networking.

Telltale 'tearing' in our initial text prints revealed that the printer's heads needed alignment which, almost uniquely in 2012, remains a manual process. Fortunately it's not something users will need to do often. Once aligned, black text looked good at all quality settings except Draft, when it was rather pale and blocky. Although colour prints weren't especially vibrant or powerful on plain paper, fills were solid and shade progressions were free of banding and very smooth. When using fairly thin 75gsm paper, we noticed a small amount of bleed from one side of the paper to the other when using automatic duplex printing.

The PX730WD really comes into its own when printing photos. It's quite fast even at the highest possible quality settings, delivering each 6x4" photo in just 79 seconds, but the results are exceptional. Superbly judged shading and accurate colour combine to deliver class-leading reproductions of both colour and black and white prints.

Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD back

There aren't any nasty surprises elsewhere. We're not overly impressed by the hinges of the scanner lid, which extend only slightly to accommodate thicker originals, but the scanner itself is well matched to the printer; together they deliver very good photocopies. The scanner is reasonably rapid, even when tested over an Ethernet connection, and it benefits from Epson's excellent TWAIN interface.

The scanner's focus is unusually sharp, while colours are captured extremely accurately, but what really sets it apart from lesser rivals is its ability to preserve the full dynamic range of originals, including subtly different shades in the darkest and lightest areas. Thanks to good all-round performance, excellent photo printing, superb scans and reasonable running costs, the PX730WD is a Best Buy printer.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Maximum native print resolution 5,760x1,440dpi
Max optical resolution 2,400x4,800dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 40ppm
Quoted speed, colour A4 40ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 3m 58s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 7m 54s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 150x445x458mm
Weight 9.8kg
Noise (in normal use) 35dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4/legal
Standard paper inputs 2
Standard paper input capacity 140
Maximum paper inputs 2
Maximum paper input capacity 140
Duplex (code, cost if option) Yes

General

Printer technology piezo inkjet
Supported operating systems Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later
Other inkjet features 6.3cm colour screen
Other inkjet options Warranty extension to three years

Buying Information

Price £126
Consumable parts and prices £11
Price per colour A4 page 6.3p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge 330 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s) 855 cyan, 435 magenta, 620 yellow, 330 light cyan, 620 light magenta pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s) N/A
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.amazon.co.uk
Details www.epson.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours 6
Number of ink cartridges 6
Maximum number of ink colours 6
Maximum number of cartridges 6
Quoted photo durability 98 years
Quoted photo durability source Wilhelm Imaging Research

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview 11s
A4 document at 150dpi 11s
A4 document at 300dpi 15s
6x4in photo at 600dpi 15s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi 57s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.0 16s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.0 17s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0 N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge support Yes
Borderless printing A4
Direct (PC-less) printing Yes
Supported memory cards SD, CF, MemoryStick/Pro, xD, MMC
CD printing Yes

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies 99

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution N/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages) N/A