The Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW is a well-specified colour inkjet printer, with an eye-watering price tag.

Just as laser printers have edged towards the budget end of the market, inkjet manufacturers seem to be pushing the upper limits of what's acceptable. One of the showcases of Epson's inkjet range, the Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW comes with an eye-watering price tag that almost touches the £300 mark.

Unsurprisingly, then, the Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW's features list is quite vast. With a mix of facilities that cater for both business and home needs, it's not clear exactly who the PX810FW is aimed at.

The printer's sleek black casing will look comfortable in a home environment, although the Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW wouldn't look out of place in the office either. A 7.8in touchscreen panel, one of the largest we've seen, dominates the front. Its lurid orange scheme gives it a slightly dated feel, although large icons are clear to read. Not all the menu options are well thought out, but the ability to view a memory card's contents in full colour detail makes it an excellent way to vault easily between camera and printer.

The Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW has a number of business-friendly options as well. Full fax facilities, and the bundled ABBYY FineReader OCR Spring is probably aimed more at office work. And while the 802.11b/g support is ideal for homes, an ethernet port is tailored towards businesses. Add to this, of course, the scanning component, which is capable of very realistic reproduction and decent speeds.  

Given the wealth of options, it's a little surprising that Epson hasn't eked out that little extra in terms of quality. In draft mode, the Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW churns out text at the rate of 17.1 pages per minute. The output here is rather faint, although darker and more satisfactory results are possible at the rate of 7.4ppm.

In its best mode, the Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW can still turn up text at speeds of 4.8ppm. However, while this may be fast for an inkjet, even here the text is slightly fuzzy and not quite as sharp as might be hoped. Businesses needing to produce letters and other documents will find a laser far more suitable.

Graphics are considerably better. Again, you'll want to ignore watered-down draft mode, even with its sizzling speed of 13ppm. Medium and best modes achieve speeds of 6ppm and 1.5ppm respectively. But while colours are relatively deep and realistic, you'll only get outstanding results by using photographic paper. The Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW's graphics output is good, but whether it's sparkling enough to justify such a high price is questionable.

In middle-quality duplex mode, the Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW's double-sided speed dropped to 4.2ppm. Slightly over half the speed of non-duplex, this is adequate, although it's doubtful whether it's fast enough to make duplex a popular choice.

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Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW: Specs

  • Multifunction inkjet printer/scanner/copier/fax
  • maximum print resolution 5760 x 1440dpi
  • optical scan resolution 4800 x 4800dpi
  • 33.6kb/s fax
  • quoted print speed B=40ppm C=40ppm
  • actual print speed B=17.1ppm C=13ppm
  • USB 2.0, 802.11b/g, ethernet
  • memory card slot
  • PictBridge
  • 120 sheet input tray
  • Ink costs B=£14 C=£14 x 5
  • print life (pages) B=560 C =560-1470 (depends on colour)
  • 466 x 458 x 198mm
  • 11.3kg
  • Multifunction inkjet printer/scanner/copier/fax
  • maximum print resolution 5760 x 1440dpi
  • optical scan resolution 4800 x 4800dpi
  • 33.6kb/s fax
  • quoted print speed B=40ppm C=40ppm
  • actual print speed B=17.1ppm C=13ppm
  • USB 2.0, 802.11b/g, ethernet
  • memory card slot
  • PictBridge
  • 120 sheet input tray
  • Ink costs B=£14 C=£14 x 5
  • print life (pages) B=560 C =560-1470 (depends on colour)
  • 466 x 458 x 198mm
  • 11.3kg

OUR VERDICT

The Epson Stylus Photo PX810FW is costly for an inkjet. You'll have to want all or most of its features to think that it justifies the expense. And while the speed is good, the quality created using normal paper isn't outstanding enough to allay our fears about the price.

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