Review: Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW

Our score: 4/5
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December 22, 2010 3:05 PM
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Published: February 2, 2010 11:00 PM
By Vincent Alzieu
Handling: almost perfect

The PX810FW wants to be your very own easy-to-use personal photo lab.  Its huge 7.7'' touchscreen display is a welcome replacement for the armies of buttons that invade other printers.  It's a four-in one (printer, scanner, copier and fax), with WiFi, Ethernet, double-sided printing a document loader.  We're impressed already!

What we're really hoping, though, is that Epson keeps up the quality of its photo printing: the manufacturer has an excellent reputation in this area, and has been a little bit better than all the rest for a while now.  At the same time, we'd like to see the quality of office printing improve, which historically has let the Stylus Photo range down.

What's missing though?  The main thing is a Linux driver, but because we liked them so much on the Lexmark Interact S605, we'd have loved to see a version of its connected, programmable features.

Office Printing: fast, but the quality isn't up to scratch

Epson's specs claim that the PX810FW can reach speeds of 40 pages per minute, but you'd have to be very naive to take that value seriously: it's based on the company's own test document in draft mode, rather than the current international standard.  Using our own test document, here are the speeds we found:


Colour printing at 11 ppm is a long way short of the 40 ppm we were promised, but still very impressive!

Unfortunately, though, Epson hasn't managed to overcome its long-standing problem: its printers produce excellent photos, but they're very weak at printing documents with text and graphics.  The print quality is average, with colours that run into one another, characters that are difficult to make out and a washed-out black.  Just about any entry-level printer can do much better: follow the link and take a look, because the difference in performance is infuriating given the price.


Photo Printing: Perfect!



A 4 x 6'' photo print takes 25 seconds, while an A4 print is ready in a minute.  That's about average, but what's really impressive is the quality, which is much better than average.  Epson's printers might not be all-rounders, but when the manufacturer claims to do one thing well, it sticks to its word--and does better than most other manufacturers, too.  Photo prints are accurate, with all of the details we'd expect.  Black and white prints are actually black and white (and not pale green or red like we've seen so many times before).  Compare this photo to the original: it's been a long time since we've seen such a faithful reproduction--and we don't even calibrate the printers we test ...


Energy Consumption and Noise

For an inkjet printer, the PX810FW is one of the biggest energy users we've ever seen, with figures around 20% above average.  This type of printer, though, doesn't use much more power than a low-energy lightbulb, so while other inkjets require 15 W, this one is hardly greedy in using 24 W.  It could do better than the 4.7 W it uses on standby.

Finally, good news: it's quiet to run.  It peaks at 46 dB, making it quitter than the majority of other printers. 


Scanner and Copier

Epson normally includes better scanners than most in its multifunction printers.  The one in the PX810FW is fast, taking 11 seconds for a preview and then five seconds to digitise a photo at 300 dpi.  It could be more accurate, though.

Left: the original. Right: 300 dpi scan.

Copies are fast, and you can expect to reproduce around 9 ppm.  However, we don't advise you rely on it because of the combination of a scanner that could be more accurate and problems with office printing.

Cost per page

The six different cartridges have very different ISO lifespans.  There's no grey cartridge, but there is light cyan and magenta ink.  Two different sizes are available: the T08 range are what we'd call standard, while the T07 are XL: more expensive to buy, but cheaper in the long run.

Cartridge Price ISO Lifespan
Cost per page
T0801 (black) £7.52 340 2.2 p
T0802 (cyan) £6.65 925 0.7 p
T0803 (magenta) £7.29 445 1.6 p
T0804 (yellow) £7.42 640 1.2 p
T0805 (light cyan) £7.69
330 2.6 p
T0806 (light magenta)
£7.89 635 1.2 p

That's a total cost per page of 9.5 p, compared to 11.1 p per page for the Lexmark S605 if you use XL cartridges, or 10.4 p on HP's new generation of wireless printers.  So it's about average--but, unfortunately, the quality you can expect is below average.

XL Cartridges

Cartridge Price ISO Lifespan Cost per page
T0791 (black) £10.49 560 1.9 p
T0792 (cyan) £6.70 1470 0.5 p
T0793 (magenta) £9.95 700 1.4 p
T0794 (yellow) £10.77 1070 1 p
T0795 (light cyan) £10.80 560 1.9 p
T0796 (light magenta) £10.85 1065 1 p

With these T07 cartridges, the cost page falls a little to 7.7 p.

4/5 Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW DigitalVersus 2010-02-03 00:00:00

Pros

  • Excellent quality photo printing
  • Fast
  • Average running costs: 7.7 p per page with XL cartridges
  • Touchscreen interface, WiFi, Ethernet, double-sided printing
  • Quiet: 46 dB

Cons

  • Disappointing office printing
  • No Linux driver
  • Fast copier, but not to be relied on because of the weak scanner
  • We've seen more accurate scanners in other Epson multifunctions

Conclusion

This is an excellent printer if you need good quality photo printing: the results really are excellent. However, Epson is still struggling with office printing.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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