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Epson Stylus SX215 review

Kat Orphanides
13 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
53
inc VAT

This budget MFP has plenty of features for a low price, but these are offset by frustratingly slow prints and high costs.

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Epson's Stylus SX215 is one of the cheapest MFPs around, but it has a 1?in colour LCD screen along with a scanner, copier and the ability to print from memory cards.

Photo quality is good for a printer at this price, although dark areas were a little washed out. Skin tones and landscapes looked natural and smooth. Prints emerged very slowly, though; it took almost an hour to print six 6x4in photos and half an hour for two 10x8in prints.

Mono documents printed faster. Draft-quality prints emerged at 13.4ppm but were so pale as to be useless for most purposes. Standard-quality text came out at a sluggish 4.5ppm. Characters were dark and legible but slightly fuzzy around the edges. Colour prints looked professional, with solid tones and fine detail, although small font sizes were a touch jagged. Colour printing is agonisingly slow, at less than one page per minute, even using Text quality rather than Text and Graphics mode.

The excellent scanner driver has accurate auto-cropping, software dust removal and a wide range of colour and image enhancement options. There's also a Full Auto mode, which dispenses with all of that in favour of one-click scanning. Scan quality is also outstanding, with accurate colours, even shading and pin-sharp detail. Mono copy quality was also good, but colour copies looked a little murky.

This is an inexpensive MFP with a wide range of features, but its print speeds and quality aren't good enough to justify the saving for most people. The final straw is that it's expensive to run, with a mixed-colour cost of 10.1p per page. Unlike many current inkjets, it has a fixed print head, which could require extensive cleaning if it becomes clogged. This makes the SX215 a dubious prospect for infrequent users, as regular printing is the best way to prevent blockages.

It may have a useful screen and stand-alone printing capabilities but they don't outweigh the SX215's shortcomings. Although almost twice the price, HP's Photosmart Plus is a better buy, as it has more features, faster print speeds and lower print costs.

Basic Specifications

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

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A432ppm
Quoted speed, colour A415ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.030m 0s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.052m 3s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size182x450x342mm
Weight5.7kg
Noise (in normal use)37.7dB(A)
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle3W
Power consumption active13W

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight251gsm
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, Mac OS X 10.3.9+
Other inkjet features1.5in colour screen
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£53
Consumable parts and pricesBlack T0711, Cyan T0712, Magenta T0713, Yellow T0714, £8 each, HY Black Twin Pack T0711H, £18
Price per colour A4 page7.0p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge180 (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)185 cyan, 135 magenta, 200 yellow pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplier
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 durability105 years
Quoted photo durability sourceWilhelm Imaging Research

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview12s
A4 document at 150dpi22s
A4 document at 300dpi35s
6x4in photo at 600dpi37s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi2m 9s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.032s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.01m 37s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsCF, SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, MicroDrive, xD
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99
Max mono copy resolution1,200x1,200dpi
Max colour copy resolution1,200x1,200dpi

Fax Features

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