Review: Epson Stylus Photo PX660

Our score: 4/5
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August 4, 2011 8:40 AM
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Published: July 28, 2011 11:00 PM
By Marine Goy
Translated by: Sam McGeever
This inkjet printer is part of Epson's Stylus Photo range of multifunction printers.  The Stylus Photo PX660 is a 3-in-1 colour printer that's aimed at users who want to be able to print their own photos at home.  Epson has put the emphasis firmly on imaging, saying that it can produce better quality prints than having your photos developed professionally.  It also claims that the Stylus Photo PX660 is fast, easy to use and has low running costs—but just how true is all of that?

 

Hardware

The PX660 is hardly imposing and has a discrete, compact form factor, measuring just 45 x 38 x 27 cm and 8.4 kg.  There's no paper tray: instead a holder with room for 120 sheets of ordinary A4 paper or twenty sheets of photo paper is hidden at the back.  That's not much, but enough for the printer's target audience.  Apart from the power switch, there are no traditional buttons.  The rest of the control panel uses a touch-sensitive interface and the various buttons light up based on the various options available at different points.  This modern, minimalist system is quite fun to use and very easy.  Your options include making copies and scanning photos, setting the printer up for Windows and Mac OS, and a USB input to connect your digital camera directly.  There's also an MSPro and Compact Flash card slot.  You don't get a fax machine, there's Ethernet connectivity or WiFi and it doesn't do double-sided printing.

Epson Stylus Photo PX660 - menu
The top of the printer has a 2.5'' screen and touch-sensitive controls


[note(3,,right)Speeds

Epson's marketing materials claims that its printer is capable of speeds of up 37 pages per minute (ppm), but you shouldn't take that at face value.  That's a figure calculated using a specially configured document in draft mode, rather than the ISO-approved generic test document in normal mode.  The real times, using the official test document and printing in normal mode are much slower:

Epson Stylus Photo PX660 review - print speeds

When we tried photo prints, shots that were perfectly fine on 4 x 6'' paper took a long time on A4.  To give you an idea of the difference, the Canon MG5150 would also take around two minutes over an A4 photo, but a smaller 4 x 6'' print would take it 42 seconds in place of the 29 seconds that this Epson can manage.

Epson Stylus Photo PX660 review

Quality

Unfortunately, despite Epson's great work on photo printing, office documents remain something of a weakness.  Text is hard to read, blacks aren't dark enough and the graphics in our test documents looked dark and above all very hazy in both colour and black and white.  Worse still, the ink seems to be running in the coloured block beside the graphic.

Epson Stylus Photo PX660 review - print quality

Photo prints, however, are excellent, and definitely deserving of a five-star rating; Epson really isn't bluffing when it claims that they can rival the quality of professionally-developed photos.  The colour prints we made were sharp and had great contrast and the right colours, picking out even fine details perfectly.  Black and white photos aren't quite as good as colour but they're much, much better than average.  If you look at the Face-Off, you'll notice a slight green tinge to black and white photos.

Epson Stylus Photo PX660 review - photo quality


Scanner and copier

The CIS scanner has a maximum resolution of 1200 dpi and can scan directly to a PDF on your PC or an e-mail.  It's pretty slow, taking around 34 seconds to scan an A4 page at 300 dpi, which is twice as slow as the Canon MG5150 scanner, for instance, and plenty of others too.

But the quality is much better than with plenty of other three-in-one printers—compare a scan from the PX660 to one produced by the Brother MFC-J615W for instance.

Black and white copies are ready in a pretty snappy 13 seconds, but colour takes 31 seconds which is rather a long time.  If you're just copying text, the quality is more than enough, but the graphics in our text document suffered the same fate as when we printed them directly, including a fuzzy background, especially in colour.


Energy consumption & Noise levels

The Stylus Photo PX660 is far from greedy, using just 1.3 W on standby and 14 W while printing.  It's quiet too, putting out just 47 dB(A).

Cost per page : 10 cents avec les XL

The six different cartridges are specified to have very different lifespans.   There's no grey cartridge, but there are lighter versions of cyan and magenta.  To complicate things, there are also two different sizes: the T08 series contains the 'standard' capacity cartridges, but we prefer the larger T07 series.  Although they're more expensive to buy, they last much longer and give better value for money over time.

Cartridge Price  ISO Lifespan
Cost per page
T0801 (black) £8.73 340 2.6 p
T0802 (cyan) £7.95 925 0.9 p
T0803 (magenta) £4.75 460 1.0 p
T0804 (yellow) £7.99 520 1.5 p
T0805 (light cyan) £7.99 350 2.3 p
T0806 (light magenta) £8.03 685 1.2 p

All told, the total running costs come to 9.5 p per page, compared to 7.1 p on the Brother MFC-J615W or 11.7 p per page on the Canon MP5150.  That makes the Stylus Photo PX660 cheaper than average—but with much better quality.

XL Cartridges

Cartridge Price ISO Lifespan Cost per page
T0791 (black) £11.13 540 2.1 p
T0792 (cyan) £12.29 1530 0.8 p
T0793 (magenta) £10.96 745 1.5 p
T0794 (yellow) £11.49 885 1.3 p
T0795 (light cyan) £9.99 560 1.8 p
T0796 (light magenta) £11.15 1110 1 p


With the larger T07 cartridges, the running costs fall to 8.5 p per page. 

4/5 Epson Stylus Photo PX660 DigitalVersus 2011-07-29 00:00:00

Pros

  • Excellent quality colour photo prints
  • Low running costs: 8.5 p per page with XL cartridges
  • Touch-sensitive interface
  • Good quality scanner
  • Fast with 4 x 6'' photo prints

Cons

  • Documents much less attractive than photo prints
  • Slower than average document printing
  • Graphic printing very poor using our test document
  • No WiFi or Ethernet
  • No fax machine or doulbe-sided printing

Conclusion

The Stylus Photo PX660 delivers on Epson's promises about photo printing, with prints worthy of any professional developer. It's also affordable cheap to run, with cheap ink and low energy consumption, just don't expect it to be perfect at everything.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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