Small, compact and attractive, the Stylus Photo P50 from Epson stands out from the majority of inkjet printers and MFDs in that it’s surprisingly light on features.
The front of the printer is relatively clutter-free, with just three buttons and no LCD screen. Given that the Stylus Photo P50 is primarily a photo printer, we were a little surprised to see that Epson has decided not to include any memory card slots. There’s also no wired or wireless network module, so connection to PC or Mac must be made via USB.
A flap at the front folds out to reveal the output tray. It’s a similar affair with the input tray, which sits behind another flap on top of the printer. Opening these flaps does make the whole thing look rather ungainly, but it also allows for it to be stored neatly away when not in use. A CD/DVD tray is also located at the front of the printer, allowing you to print labels onto compatible discs.
The Stylus Photo P50 uses Epson’s Claria dye-based inks, which the company claims results in longer-lasting prints. There are six inks in total, each housed in its own cartridge and costing £9.10 to replace. If you want to save a bit of cash, Epson also bundles all six inks together in a complete pack for £46.92, a saving of just under £8.
When printing in draft mode, the Stylus Photo P50 is pretty fast; we managed an impressive print speed of 25ppm when printing text. When in draft mode, though, the printer is also incredibly loud, with a thunderous clunk heard each time it sucks a sheet of paper in. On one occasion this caused it to accidentally grab two sheets of paper instead of one, but it cleverly spat them out before carrying on as normal.
Slip out of draft mode and the speed of text documents drops right down to around 8ppm, with the first page taking about 25 seconds to reach the output tray.
But this printer is designed for high-quality photo prints, so it’s unlikely you’ll be using it solely to print text documents. And, as you might expect, photo printing is a much lengthier process. An A4 photo print using the highest quality setting took just over five minutes to appear. If you’re happy losing out on quality, faster photo prints can be obtained using the standard settings, and we managed a 6 x 4-inch print in just under 30 seconds.
The quality of the prints when using the highest setting is admirable. Using Epson’s Premium Glossy Photo Paper (a sample of which is included), colours are rich and detail is well defined. Our only complaint is that the photos tended to come out looking a little soft. Still, for a photo printer costing under £100, the quality is impressive.
Epson bundles a selection of software with the printer, including its Easy Photo Print application, while the driver lets you keep an eye on ink levels as well as apply features such as red-eye reduction.
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