Good quality but expensive multifunction printer
The PX810FW is Epson’s top-of-the-range-inkjet multifunction device for home users: it will print, scan, copy and fax.
Unlike most similar devices with fax functions, there are not many controls on the front panel. In fact, the main physical control is the power button. Everything else is controlled using a touch-sensitive panel and screen.
The touchscreen is a good idea, able to be used for previewing pictures and for controlling the device. But though the panel on the front of the device is large, the touchscreen itself is small. The rest of the panel contains a series of touch-sensitive buttons.
Since these don’t change their functions it’s hard to see why Epson has chosen to make them part of a touch-sensitive panel rather than making them proper push buttons. As it is, the touch-panel buttons can be irritatingly slow to respond.
For instance, it was quite hard to set up the printer’s wireless network connection. It can be attached directly to a computer using a USB cable (not supplied) or to your home network using the wired or wireless connection. But it was very fiddly to set up the wireless connection using the non-responsive buttons.
In other ways it’s quite well designed – for instance the top cover folds away to reveal the document feeder, so you can scan lots of pages without having to feed each one in. Likewise, the cover of the output tray at the front of the printer folds down to enable pulling out the input paper tray.
The paper tray itself is quite complicated, being able to take several paper sizes by means of having two trays that are hinged together. It took a bit of getting used to but it worked in practice.
Unfortunately when we loaded a single sheet of glossy photo paper above some sheets of plain A4, the printer picked up both the glossy sheet and the top sheet of plain paper, so we ended up with a grubby photo printed on plain paper. So, if you are printing photos make sure the entire tray is loaded with the correct paper.
The PX810FW can also print onto some CDs, and handily, the CD tray is accessed by pressing a button on the front panel. Most printers have a separate tray that’s easy to use, so this is a welcome addition.
Quality was good. Photos looked sharp and bright, and text was impressive even in the draft mode. In fact, there was a little too much ink bleed from text in normal mode, so we would prefer the lighter, faster draft mode for most things.
At three minutes for a colour A4 photo at best quality it was on the slow side, though text printing was a lot more impressive: it took 40 seconds to print 10 pages in draft and 88 seconds in normal mode, giving speeds of 15 and seven pages per minute respectively.
Double-sided printing didn’t take too much longer: a standard page of text took 17 seconds in normal mode, and two pages of the same text printed double-sided took 25 seconds.
Copy quality was also impressive as were scans. It comes with Abbyy OCR software for turning scans into editable documents. A memory card reader allows you to plug in a camera’s memory card and print directly, though results were not as good as through a PC.
Ink costs are high at around 13p for a colour page, though you can reduce that by buying the higher-capacity Epson cartridges.
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This is an excellent printer with some neat features but it’s expensive Good points Great print quality; easy printing to CD; good scans Bad points Up-front and ongoing costs are both high; hard to set up wireless connection; irritating touchscreen
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