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Epson Stylus Office BX635FWD review

Simon Handby
26 Feb 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
115
inc VAT

A competent and competitive MFP for office-orientated work, but the torn text at low and medium quality settings is a problem

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Specifications

38ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, 226x446x360mm

Epson's Stylus Office BX635FWD is an inkjet MFP aimed at small businesses and home offices. It's a well-specified device – with support for wired and wireless networks, a built-in fax modem and a 30-page document feeder for unattended multi-page copies and faxes – but at a price that's within reach of even the most cash-strapped start up.

BX635FWD

Made from smart black plastics, the BX635FWD doesn't particularly look like an office-orientated MFP. It's compact and, despite the proliferation of buttons on its control panel, it's easy to operate. Epson's software installer is simple, but it fails to stress that the Epson Networking Utilities must be installed if you plan to connect the printer over the network.

Epson has recently revamped its print driver, and the result has a cleaner interface that's as easy to get to grips with as the previous version. We're also big fans of the company's TWAIN scan interface, which can be run in different modes suited to different users. Professional mode gives users full and exacting control over scan settings, but the interface remains uncluttered and easy to use. Subtleties such as remembering previewed images between sessions help to increase productivity, too.

Epson BX635FWD driver

Our initial print tests suffered from colour banding, necessitating a single round of head cleaning – a simple routine that can be accessed either from the printer's setup menu or from the driver's maintenance page. Although the head cleaning cured the banding, we noticed that text printed at quality settings up to and including Normal suffered from some subtle horizontal tearing. Normally this might suggest that the print heads need alignment – a manual process on most Epson printers – but the problem was no better after a couple of alignment attempts. The problem wasn't visible when printing at either of the top two quality settings, but the printer managed only 1.7ppm on the Fine setting.

Epson BX635FWD tearing

Subtle horizontal tearing was seen at some quality levels

This glitch aside, we were impressed by this MFP's print quality on plain paper. Colours in the magazine pages and business graphics of our mixed-colour test were robust without being gaudy, and fills and gradients were solid and smooth. Despite a wide range of memory card slots, this isn't a photo-orientated printer. While the results from the pigment-based inks were characteristically lacklustre, they're good enough for occasional use.

Epson BX635FWD driver

Images captured by the scanner weren't perfectly sharp at very high resolutions, but they were more than good enough for regular office work. Exposure was typically well judged, with accurate colours and good retention of detail from the lightest and darkest regions of the original image. Scans were rapid at low and medium resolutions, but performance was a little slow at 1,200dpi. We suspected the bandwidth of our wireless network was a limiting factor, but this test was only a few seconds faster when repeated over a USB connection.

With above average performance, a good set of features, a modest asking price and reasonable running costs, this is a competent MFP for the home office. It's not ideal if you need to print perfect text quickly, though.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Maximum native print resolution5,760x1,440dpi
Max optical resolution2,400x2,400dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A438ppm
Quoted speed, colour A438ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.09m 11s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.015m 56s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size226x446x360mm
Weight8.0kg

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity250
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity250
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes

General

Printer technologypiezo inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later
Other inkjet features6.3cm colour screen
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£115
Consumable parts and prices£10
Price per colour A4 page3.9p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge385 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)Cyan 474, magenta 378, yellow 616 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone-year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.epson.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges4
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges4
Quoted photo durability100 years
Quoted photo durability sourceWilhelm Imaging Research

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview9s
A4 document at 150dpi11s
A4 document at 300dpi21s
6x4in photo at 600dpi49s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi2m 39s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.021s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.025s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.03m 31s

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingA4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsSD, xD, CompactFlash, MemoryStick Pro
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution200x200dpi
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)180