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Epson Stylus Photo PX660 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £112
inc VAT

It’s a great MFP for photo enthusiasts and is cheap to run, but the PX660 costs too much. We'd choose Canon's PIXMA MG5150.

The Stylus Photo PX660 is a mid-range device from Epson’s range of inkjet multi-function peripherals (MFPs), which, at the time of writing, contains a bewildering 25 models. It’s a photo-orientated device, with a six-ink printer and direct printing support through PictBridge USB, and a memory card reader that supports all common memory card formats.

There’s a notable omission from the specifications, though. While many of the PX660’s competitors at this price have either a wired Ethernet port, a wireless network interface or both, the PX660 has a plain old USB port. While you could still use Windows’ printer sharing to share it with your other computers, you’d need to leave the host PC on.

Epson Stylus Photo PX660 Ports

While the PX660 is new, it’s based on a print engine that’s been around for some years. Fortunately, that’s no bad thing; the engine uses Claria dye-based inks and has a minimum droplet size of just 1.5 picolitres, and has been at the heart of some of our favourite photo printers. Unfortunately, like other similar Epson printers we’ve tested, the PX660 isn’t a great printer for text documents. Characters are less sharp and dark than those produced by, for example, Canon’s rival PIXMA MG6150 (see Labs, issue 276), and draft text is off-black and faint.

Epson claims extraordinary speeds of up to 37 pages per minute (ppm) in mono and 38ppm in colour, but the PX660 was nothing like that quick in our tests. Draft printing reached a credible 15.8ppm, but at normal quality the rate was just 4.8ppm – far short of its fastest rivals. At 3.3ppm, mixed colour prints on plain paper were competitive, but photo prints were quite slow, with six postcard-sized prints taking almost 12.5 minutes.

We’ve come to expect fantastic photo quality from Epson’s inkjets, but the results from some of our initial tests were disappointing. While most subjects looked excellent, black and white prints – normally an Epson forte – looked dreadfully washed out. A bit of investigation revealed that as part of a minor update to its print interface, Epson appears to have changed its default colour mode to PhotoEnhance. Setting it to Color Control with the Vivid profile produced the brilliant results we were expecting.

Epson Stylus Photo PX660

Epson’s scanners are generally above average, and the one fitted to the PX660 is no exception. It’s swift, rather than fast, but the images it captured were sharp, and colours were superbly accurate. We were particularly impressed with its ability to preserve subtle details in the lightest and very darkest shades of source material. Photocopies were also very good, with reasonable colour accuracy and darker details preserved thanks to well-judged brightness.

There are many things to like about the PX660, including – if you stick to the high capacity ‘Owl’ series cartridges – some of the lowest inkjet running costs available. However, there’s no getting away from the initial purchase price, which is simply too high.

For roughly £25 more, the Canon PIXMA MG6150 is almost as good at photo printing, is better on plain paper, and includes a duplexer, two paper trays and wired and wireless network interfaces. Alternatively, the Canon MG5150, which competes more closely on features, is just £73.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution5,760×1,440dpi
Max optical resolution1,200×2,400dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A437ppm
Quoted speed, colour A438ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.07m 42s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.012m 25s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, PictBridge USB
Optional printer interfacesNone
Noise (in normal use)37dB(A)

Paper Handling

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


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

Consumable parts and prices£8 each
Price per colour A4 page4.6p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge330 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)Cyan 935, magenta 460, yellow 520, light cyan 350, light magenta 685 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone-year RTB

Print Quality

Number of ink colours6
Number of ink cartridges6
Maximum number of ink colours6
Maximum number of cartridges6
Quoted photo durability98 years
Quoted photo durability sourceWilhelm Imaging Research

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview12s
A4 document at 150dpi16s
A4 document at 300dpi24s
6x4in photo at 600dpi27s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi1m 48s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.021s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.029s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingA4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsCF, SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
CD printingYes

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99

Fax Features

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