The moment you take the Epson Stylus Photo PX800FW out of the box you know that you have a serious piece of machinery that means business. For a start, it’s designed in a no-nonsense mixture of glossy and matt black that exudes class and confidence, it measures a compact but sturdy 446 x 385 x 198mm and it weighs in at a solid 13kg.
Being a 4-in-1 printer, you have the full capability to copy, print, scan and fax from a number of sources. Dominating the front of the printer is a 19.8cm LCD touch panel viewer (that contains an 8.9cm preview screen) which can be tilted up 90 degrees to make reading easier.
Directly beneath it is a pop-out CD tray which can be used to backup photos and documents and underneath that is the dual purpose input tray; the top section is specifically for up to 20 sheets of photo paper and the bottom holds a standard 120 sheets of A4. In addition there’s an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) above the scanner lid which gives you the option of a further 30 sheets of A4.
As you’d expect from an All-in-One of this quality, there are memory card slots in the front that will take care of all the usual suspects (Compact Flash, SD and MiniSD, Memory Stick and xD-Picture card), plus a USB port for flash drives and PictBridge links to digital cameras.
PC interface options include USB 2.0, Wi-Fi via Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11b/g and Ethernet. However, if you want connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth, you’ll have to cough up for a separate adapter.
Noise levels are acceptably low and as well as the usual installation driver, there’s a bumper pack of software on the enclosed disc such as Epson Event Manager, Epson Easy Photo Print, Epson Web-To-Page and ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint Plus for OCR.
As for performance, speeds and colour authenticity varied in our tests. Draft A4 text results managed around 25ppm (rather than the optimistic 40ppm on the box), yet a 10 x 15cm colour print of Standard quality from an SD card whizzed out in exactly the 10 seconds claimed by Epson.
When we processed the same print at Best quality, though, it dropped to a more expected 1 minute 10 seconds. The quality of the prints on both occasions was excellent, yet an A4 landscape colour print of Best quality – despite emerging in a perfectly acceptable 1 minute 35 seconds – arrived with much darker hues and a clear yellow/brown tinge.
Inexplicably, an A4 standard quality copy of the same landscape picture produced an almost identical colour reproduction of the original, although it took two minutes to process and 55 seconds to print.
In general, scanned photos seemed truer to the originals (thanks mostly to Epson’s renowned Claria ink cartridges and the high-resolution 4800dpi engine) and there’s a range of editing and additional menu functions, such as photo greeting cards, specialist stationary and colouring books.
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