Compact inkjet designed for photo printing
In contrast to the print, copy and scan features offered by multi-function devices, Epson's Stylus Photo P50 concentrates solely on photo printing. And with no scanning unit to bulk things up, it’s a compact device measuring 45cm wide and 29cm deep.
There is no card reader on the Stylus Photo P50, so it cannot print without a PC connected. There is no wireless connection either, so the USB socket is the only way to attach it to the computer. It can, however, print labels onto compatible CDs and DVDs.
Six individual ink cartridges are used (black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta), so you need only replace those inks that are running low. Each ink cartridge costs £9, but you can save money by purchasing an entire ink replacement pack for £47.
Epson makes much of the Stylus Photo P50's print speeds, boasting that 10x15cm photos can be produced in just 12 seconds. In our tests, we couldn't manage faster than 29 seconds even at the lowest settings, but that is still not a bad time.
Naturally, A4 photo prints took considerably longer. Using the standard settings, an A4 borderless photo took two minutes and 10 seconds. With Best Photo mode selected, this more than doubled to five minutes, but quality was greatly improved.
Text print speeds are quoted at a staggering 37ppm. Again, though, the printer failed to match the claims. Our text document arrived at a rate of six pages per minute (ppm). Switching to draft mode drastically reduced the quality, but also increased the print speed to 22ppm.
As far as print quality goes, on the Best Photo setting the Stylus Photo P50 was capable of producing vivid photos with accurate colour and a good level of fine detail. Drop down to standard Photo mode, though, and results were less impressive, with sharp jagged edges visible on close inspection.
With multi-function devices available from just £30, many people will be happy to lose out on photo quality in order to gain the extra functionality. However, if you have no need for scan and copy features, the Stylus Photo P50 is capable of producing impressive photo prints.
The Stylus Photo P50 produces quality photos, but only if you use the highest settings Good points High quality photos; compact; fast draft mode; CD/DVD printing Bad points Slow 'Best Photo' mode prints; no card reader
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