The Epson B-510DN could become the first crossover colour inkjet printers success, outperforming the other members of its cohort - along with many lower-end colour laser printers - in print speed and cost per page.

All this talent comes at a high initial price. But if you need speed, volume, and economy, plus good photo printing, the Epson B-510DN is well worth considering.

The Epson B-510DN's design is efficient rather than aesthetically pleasing. Replacing consumables is a snap, thanks to the front ink-cartridge bay, but the bay protrudes awkwardly from the unit's face. The control panel consists of a two-line monochrome LCD and a few buttons whose purposes are clear even without word labels. The front input tray holds 500 letter-size/legal-size sheets and has a 170-sheet output tray on top. A rear input accepts envelopes and the like (or another 150 sheets of paper). It can connect via USB or ethernet. Automatic duplexing is included as a standard feature.

Pages virtually flew out of the Epson B-510DN. On the PC, the printer generated plain-text pages at an average speed of 14.7 pages per minute, and 4-by-6-inch colour photos on letter-size media at 3.4 ppm. On the Mac, it delivered plain-text pages at 13.82 ppm, and a four-page PDF of mixed text and graphics arrived at a rate of 2 ppm. A high-resolution colour photo (at near-full-page size) printed at 1.1 ppm.

Print quality was very good. Photos on Epson's own matte paper had accurate colours and a slightly dotty (but even) texture. The same images on plain paper looked washed out and grainy. Text printed on plain paper appeared nicely dark but a little fuzzy - one of the few areas where similarly priced lasers and even the HP OfficeJet Pro 8000 Wireless fared a little better.

The Epson B-510DN's consumables are extremely inexpensive. Its standard-size supplies include the T616100, a £35, 3000-page black cartridge (which works out to 1.1p per page) and £45, 3500-page cyan (T616200), magenta (T616300), and yellow (T616400) cartridges (1.2p per colour per page). A full-colour page would cost just 4.8p.

The high-yield colours (with T617 designations) and blacks cost even less, making the Epson B-510DN an inexpensive printer to run.

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Epson B-510DN: Specs

  • Workgroup printer, inkjet, colour
  • Epson Micro Piezo
  • Ink Palette Supported (Colours): 4-ink
  • Nozzle C: 3pl
  • Epson DURABrite Ultra inks
  • Status LCD
  • Wired Connectivity Technology
  • USB, Ethernet 10/100Base-TX
  • Duplex
  • PCL 3, EPSON ESC/P 2, EPSON ESC/P
  • Media Handling: 500-sheet paper cassette, 150-sheet multipurpose tray
  • 32MB RAM
  • Labels, plain paper, coated paper, photo paper, matte paper, self-adhesive photo paper, heavy-weight matte paper
  • Monthly Duty Cycle: 20000 pages
  • Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
  • TCP/IP, NetBEUI/NetBIOS, LPR/LPD, FTP, BOOTP, DHCP, SLP
  • SNMP, Telnet, IPP, HTTP
  • Hi-Speed USB
  • Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX
  • RJ-45
  • 480x489x312mm
  • 10.7kg
  • Workgroup printer, inkjet, colour
  • Epson Micro Piezo
  • Ink Palette Supported (Colours): 4-ink
  • Nozzle C: 3pl
  • Epson DURABrite Ultra inks
  • Status LCD
  • Wired Connectivity Technology
  • USB, Ethernet 10/100Base-TX
  • Duplex
  • PCL 3, EPSON ESC/P 2, EPSON ESC/P
  • Media Handling: 500-sheet paper cassette, 150-sheet multipurpose tray
  • 32MB RAM
  • Labels, plain paper, coated paper, photo paper, matte paper, self-adhesive photo paper, heavy-weight matte paper
  • Monthly Duty Cycle: 20000 pages
  • Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
  • TCP/IP, NetBEUI/NetBIOS, LPR/LPD, FTP, BOOTP, DHCP, SLP
  • SNMP, Telnet, IPP, HTTP
  • Hi-Speed USB
  • Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX
  • RJ-45
  • 480x489x312mm
  • 10.7kg

OUR VERDICT

The Epson B-510DN removes nearly all question of whether an inkjet printer can succeed in business. It offers competitive speeds and ink costs - enough to make vendors of some lower-end colour lasers nervous.

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