Epson – Stylus Photo RX640 review

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Epson’s latest MFD (Multi-Function Device), the RX640, is a step up from its smaller sibling, the RX520, offering six-colour printing, fast scanning, CD/DVD printing, photocopying and the ability to upload and print from a variety of flash media. But on the downside it suffers from slow print speeds.

As you might expect with a top range model, the Stylus Photo RX640 uses Epson’s Micro Piezo head and Variable-sized Droplet technology. The print head has 360 nozzles divided between the six colours (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Light Cyan, Light Magenta and Yellow).

It’s quite stylish for an MFD, in its metallic silver and dark grey finish, with a big panel on top of the front section carrying an array of large, well labelled buttons that control most of the printer’s modes with just one click.

In the middle of the top control panel sits a 63mm LCD display which helps you sort though your photos and choose which ones you want to print, from either a memory card or a digital camera (via the PictBridge slot). Just above the front cover, which opens down to reveal the telescopic output tray, sits the memory card reader, neatly tucked away behind a swivelling plastic cover.

Printing on to CD or DVD involves flipping the output tray upwards and slotting in the disc holder supplied in the box, but bear in mind you will have to use special inkjet printable discs which you may have to budget for; around 25p each.

Epson claims a 21ppm (pages per minute) engine speed for the RX640, but as is the case with the vast majority of inkjet claimed print speeds, it doesn’t match what we got under test conditions; the best we could reach was 14ppm.

But overall print times were slow; 3ppm for A4 text printing and just under 2.5ppm for mixed text and graphics. Colour prints took even longer, which is quite a surprise from a photo printer; an A4 print on Glossy Paper at the Best Photo setting took a lengthy five minutes, but the quality of the print was very good, with even the soft shades being well reproduced.

Fast scanning is achieved by a 3,200 x 6400dpi MatrixCCD scanner and it certainly doesn’t hang about; an A4 magazine cover scanned at the default mode of 300dpi took a mere 30 seconds, while it only took five minutes to scan the same cover at 1200dpi.

Unlike some multi-colour printers, you only need to replace whichever of the individual cartridges is empty, and you can buy all six colours in a value pack for £36.27. This works out on average at approximately 28p per 6 x 4-inch photo.

The software bundle contains the usual Epson suspects: ArcSoft PhotoImpression, Epson Creativity Suite, Easy PhotoPrint, Web-To-Page, Print CD and Image Framer. Espon backs the printer with a year’s warranty.

Company: Epson

Contact: 08702 416900

If you don't mind relatively slow print speeds then the Epson Stylus RX640 offers a wealth of printing options from a wide range of media, but possibly its best feature is its fast scanner.