Epson offers a good set of all-in-one printers and the Stylus SX515W sits in the middle of the range. Building on a reputation for reliable if sometimes expensive to run printers, this machine is intended for the home or possibly small business customer, with an interest in photography but also the need to produce fast, plain-paper prints and copies.
Its main new feature, other than a freshly designed control panel of flush-fitting keys, is wireless networking. You need to connect the machine temporarily to your PC via USB to set this up, but the process is painless and pretty much automatic.
Decked out in piano black, with an interesting grey dot texture, the scanner lid lifts to reveal a conventional A4 flatbed scanner, while to the left of this is the well-configured control panel, with a 63mm LCD display panel behind, which hinges up to give a variety of viewing angles. Twin memory card slots sit under the controls in the front panel and there’s a PictBridge socket which doubles as a USB drive connection, though only for file upload, not saving scans.
Pages feed from a near-vertical slot at the rear to an output tray which telescopes out from the front, and printing is very fast for an inkjet all-in-one, though it’s also pretty noisy, with a measured peak of 66dBA.
A five-page, black text print returned 11.5ppm and the printer did still better on the 20-page variant, producing 14ppm. The text and colour graphics print reached 6.25ppm. These are all excellent figures, better than most of the competition, though some way off Epson’s claim of 36ppm.
The output quality is fair on plain paper, though there’s a slight wobble to some of the black text, but good bright colours and tight registration of black over colour. Colour copies lose some of their brightness as do colour scans, but photos on Epson’s glossy photo paper are very good, with plenty of detail and natural colouring.
One oddity in the make-up of this printer is Epson’s recommendation of its Cheetah ink cartridges, named after the picture on their packets. While these cartridges work fine, they give much poorer ink economy than the Rhino set, which also fit the machine. At Internet prices, the Cheetah cartridges return costs of 3.8p and 11p for black and colour ISO pages respectively, while the Rhino ones produce costs of 2p and 6.4p. OK, you have to pay more for them each time, but the cost per page difference is definitely worth it.
Contact: 0871 222 6702