There’s no mistaking an Epson home and small business multifunction printer – it comes in uniformly glossy piano black, has smoothly rounded corners, is very compact and usually comes with heaps of software to help make scanning, printing and copying an absolute breeze. The Epson Stylus SX525WD is very much in the grand tradition, fulfilling all of the above criteria.
What it’s like
The SX525WD’s all-black casing and small footprint – 455x359x164mm (wdh) – ensure it remains unassuming in the background of a study or office. It’s a comparative featherweight too: 6.2kg without cartridges and cable.
Paper capacity is limited to 150 sheets of A4, fed from the bottom input tray, which is more than sufficient for light usage. However, it’s curious that the edge guides in the tray are positioned at the back rather than the front, so you have to pull it all the way out every time you change or adjust paper sizes.
The control panel at the front (which can be angled for better reading) uses the central 6.3cm colour LCD screen for most of its functions. But while it’s relatively easy to scroll through the menu options, it’s a shame there are no separate dedicated scan and copy buttons for quick operation – and an equal pity that Epson have chosen to ignore the touchscreen route. Also, while there are plenty of compatible memory card slots to the left of the control panel for most common types, there’s no USB port for flash cards and PictBridge enabled cameras.
Where the Epson Stylus SX525WD does score well, on the other hand, is for its wireless connection, automatic duplex facility and print speed. The software for the wireless setup has caused some users a bit of head-scratching, with the USB cable sometimes having to be employed to get things moving – but once established, it all works efficiently.
The auto duplex is a major boon, saving much wasted time physically turning pages over. Double-sided sheets come out impressively fast, too – around 8ppm.
Print speed and quality
As usual, Epson’s claimed speeds for printing and copying seem rather optimistic, but we still managed to produce draft-quality black text documents at 24ppm, with standard text at 15ppm.
A4 standard quality photos matched both copy and print speeds at 2min 55s, while 10x15cm photos were a more disappointing one minute. As for print quality, draft black text documents exhibited some blurring and breaks while standard text was much more solid. Colour prints were detailed, vibrant and warm with scans producing pleasantly lighter effects.
Whether the current £100 price point offered by Epson (reduced from £150) will prove competitive enough in a crowded market is open to question, although with retailers like Amazon quoting £86, this could be a good buy for those strapped for cash but wanting to get their hands on the auto duplex function.
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