The Epson isn't the prettiest portable printer around, being considerably larger and taller than the dainty Selphy CP730. However, it is self-contained, with the fold-up lid acting as an paper tray, so in use it takes up less space than the Canon.

Underneath the lid lies the control panel - an adjustable 2.5in screen and a host of clearly labelled and comfortingly chunky buttons. These make the Epson blissfully simple to use - you'll be churning out photos in no time, without digging out the manual every five minutes. Delve a little deeper and you'll discover basic photo-editing functions: red-eye reduction and colour, brightness and saturation controls. There's even an assortment of themed frames and decorations with which to garnish your snaps.

Connectivity-wise, the Epson is fairly accommodating. A USB port allows connection to either a PC or a PictBridge port, while the front section houses a couple of card readers which accept the usual spectrum of media cards and sticks.

Print times are competitive, with photos sliding out in just 42 seconds - precisely the speed Epson claims it's capable of, which is not something that can be taken for granted.

We were generally pleased with the print performance. Predictably, detail levels are no match for the dye-sub Canon, but the Epson still produces good contrast and generally well-balanced colours - if you ignore the slight hint of magenta. Our only real grumble is that print texture becomes noticeable in some photos.

Epson PictureMate 240: Specs

  • Photo printer
  • average print time 42 seconds
  • average cost per print 20p
  • print quality 4/5
  • Photo printer
  • average print time 42 seconds
  • average cost per print 20p
  • print quality 4/5

OUR VERDICT

It's not the best-looking photo printer around, but the Epson PictureMate more than makes up for this with its strong print quality and admirable ease of use. Recommended.

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