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Epson Stylus Photo PX650 review

Kat Orphanides
26 Mar 2010
Epson Stylus Photo PX650
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
99
inc VAT

This MFP prints stunning photos and has a great scanner interface, but document printing is mediocre.

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Specifications

37ppm print speed, USB, 195x450x386mm

Epson has a great reputation as a manufacturer of inkjet printers for serious photography enthusiasts. Despite its relatively low price, the Stylus Photo PX650 MFP is extremely well equipped, with six separate ink cartridges supplying dye-based black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta ink. It's easy to set up and has plenty of useful features, including a 2.5in colour LCD screen, which makes it easy to print photos directly from your digital camera's memory card.

The six-ink system makes the PX650 more expensive to run than a typical four-colour inkjet. An A4 page of mixed black and colour costs 13.1p, while a 6x4in photo on Epson's own-brand Premium Glossy Photo Paper will cost you around 31p. This compares well to most other photo inkjets in the market. A page of mono text isn't too unreasonable at 2.5p, either.

The PX650 isn't a great choice if you want to print lots of documents on plain paper. At standard quality, even plain mono text prints at a sluggish 4.8ppm – significantly slower than most current inkjets. A mixed-colour print speed of 3.1ppm doesn't compare too badly with the rest of the market, though. If you need to print something in a real hurry, the PX650's draft mode managed a very respectable 10.3ppm. Unfortunately, while many inkjets have a draft mode that's good enough for everyday printing, the PX650's draft prints live up to their name; although they're readable, text is too pale and poorly defined for anything except proof-reading.

Even at standard quality, lettering was sometimes poorly defined or broken, while large areas of solid colour showed bands caused by the passage of the print head. It's not unusable, but document printing isn't the PX650's strongest suit. It only really excels at photo printing, producing stunning images with rich dark tones, vivid highlights, smooth shading and outstanding contrast. A range of colour management options make it easy to ensure that your printed photo matches the image on your screen. It's not particularly fast, at almost two minutes for a 6x4in photo, but the end results are worth the wait.

Epson's scanner interface is both powerful and easy to use. The 1,200x2,400dpi CIS scanner can't handle negatives and isn’t high enough quality to scan images for permanent archival, but is easily good enough for everything else. We liked the realistic, slightly muted, colours of our scans and the accurate reproduction of fine detail and smooth shading. Sadly, copy quality proved to be much less impressive. It's fast enough, at 21 seconds for a mono copy and 31 seconds for colour, but this speed is part of the problem. At the default settings, both colour and mono copies were streaky and banded.

The PX650 is rather a mixed bag, with a decent scanner and excellent photo printing but poor performance on plain-paper text and graphical documents. Canon's Pixma MP640 is a much better all-rounder with lower print costs to boot.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Maximum native print resolution5,760x1,440dpi
Max optical resolution1,200x2,400dpi
Output bit depth48-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A437ppm
Quoted speed, colour A438ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.08m 9s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.011m 56s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB
Optional printer interfacesBluetooth adaptor (C12C824383), £135
Size195x450x386mm
Weight8.4kg
Noise (in normal use)51dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4
Maximum paper weight225gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity120
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity120
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

General

Printer technologypiezo inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows 2000/XP/XP-x64/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.3.9+
Other inkjet features2.5in colour LCD screen

Buying Information

Price£99
Consumable parts and prices360 page Black T0801, £8; 330 page Cyan T0802, £9; 935 page Magenta T0803, £9; 460 page Yellow T0804, £8; 858 page Light Cyan T0805, £9; 858 page Light Magenta T0806,£9
Price per colour A4 page10.6p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge330 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)935 cyan, 460 magenta, 520 yellow, 350 light cyan, 685 light magenta pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)none
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.dixons.co.uk
Detailswww.epson.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours6
Number of ink cartridges6
Maximum number of ink colours6
Maximum number of cartridges6

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview7s
A4 document at 150dpi13s
A4 document at 300dpi23s
6x4in photo at 600dpi30s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi2m 9s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.021s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.031s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, CF, Memory Stick PRO, MMC, xD
CD printingYes

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99

Fax Features

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