The Epson Stylus Office BX320FW is a multifunction inkjet printer almost shorn of home-friendly features.

There are no memory-card slots or PictBridge ports. And while many inkjet printers come with a large colourful LCD, the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW's simple two-line text display, strikes a sober but informative note.

Not that the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW lacks features for office users. Network options are comprehensive, and besides ethernet, you can hook up using 802.11b/g/n wireless. We found the setup to be painless, and while many offices still run using wired alternatives, it's good to have the option.

Not only are scanner and copying facilties available (the scanning, in particular, is swift and faithful), but the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW also offers 33.6kbps faxing. Many of the buttons on the rather full control panel are there for faxing.

Styling is straightforward, and paper handling adequate, loading up to 120 sheets. The Epson Stylus Office BX320FW's plastic support seemed more robust than is often the case with inkjets. We experienced no problems with paper feeding, although we wouldn't necessarily trust it with large print jobs.

Epson printers often kick off in an ultra-fast, but almost unusably faint, draft mode. Even at its fastest, though, the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW's text was reasonably clear. And that 15.8ppm real-world figure is indeed fast, matching that of the Oki C110 laser.

In truth, text still won't be a patch on the Oki though. Middle mode sees the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW's speed drop to a still zippy 13ppm. Here the text is dark and, for an inkjet, reasonably crisp.

If text is important, you'll still prefer a laser – even in the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW's highest-quality mode (just 1.7ppm), there are slight smudges on the text. For an inkjet, though, this is one of the more functional and professional printers we've seen.

The point of buying an inkjet is more about good colour graphics. The fastest mode (5ppm) is too faint to be practical, but output in middle mode, at 2.5ppm, is dark and lifelike, with good detail. Few sub-£150 printers are faster at this quality. Good photo results are possible in highest mode, albeit at 0.5ppm.

With five ink tanks to top-up (two black), money will need spending to replace all the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW's consumables. Actual running costs are fairly low though, with most output costing less than 2p a page.

VIDEO: see the Epson BX320FW Printer in action

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Epson Stylus Office BX320FW: Specs

  • Printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax
  • print resolution 5760x1440
  • quoted print speed B=38ppm C=20ppm
  • actual print speed B=15.8ppm C=5ppm
  • scanner optical resolution 1200 x 2400dpi
  • 33.6kbps fax
  • USB 2.0, Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n
  • cartridge costs B=£19 x2 C=£13 x3
  • print life (pages) B=1,000 x2 C=765 x3
  • 460x403x235mm
  • 7.4kg
  • Printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax
  • print resolution 5760x1440
  • quoted print speed B=38ppm C=20ppm
  • actual print speed B=15.8ppm C=5ppm
  • scanner optical resolution 1200 x 2400dpi
  • 33.6kbps fax
  • USB 2.0, Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n
  • cartridge costs B=£19 x2 C=£13 x3
  • print life (pages) B=1,000 x2 C=765 x3
  • 460x403x235mm
  • 7.4kg

OUR VERDICT

For business users the Epson Stylus Office BX320FW offers a number of useful features. Those needing to churn out hundreds of pages of vivid text will still need a laser; but its good graphics, multi-functionality and versatile networking offer something for everyone.

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