A competent and competitive MFP for office-orientated work, but the torn text at low and medium quality settings is a problem
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Maximum native print resolution||5,760×1,440dpi|
|Max optical resolution||2,400×2,400dpi|
|Output bit depth||24-bit|
|Quoted speed, mono A4||38ppm|
|Quoted speed, colour A4||38ppm|
Tested Print Speeds
|Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0||9m 11s|
|Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0||15m 56s|
Physical and Environmental
|Standard printer interfaces||USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless|
|Optional printer interfaces||none|
|Maximum paper size||A4/legal|
|Standard paper inputs||1|
|Standard paper input capacity||250|
|Maximum paper inputs||1|
|Maximum paper input capacity||250|
|Duplex (code, cost if option)||Yes|
|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||none|
|Consumable parts and prices||£10|
|Price per colour A4 page||3.9p|
|Quoted life of supplied black cartridge||385 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|
|Number of ink colours||4|
|Number of ink cartridges||4|
|Maximum number of ink colours||4|
|Maximum number of cartridges||4|
|Quoted photo durability||100 years|
|Quoted photo durability source||Wilhelm Imaging Research|
Tested Scan Speeds
|Full scan area preview||9s|
|A4 document at 150dpi||11s|
|A4 document at 300dpi||21s|
|6x4in photo at 600dpi||49s|
|6x4in photo at 1200dpi||2m 39s|
Tested Copy Speeds
|Time for single A4 mono copy 1.0||21s|
|Time for single A4 colour copy 1.0||25s|
|Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0||3m 31s|
|Direct (PC-less) printing||Yes|
|Supported memory cards||SD, xD, CompactFlash, MemoryStick Pro|
|Maximum number of copies||99|
|Max mono fax resolution||200x200dpi|
|Fax memory (maximum mono pages)||180|