Following on from the soon-to-be-discontinued R320 comes this even heavier-duty photo printer from Epson. It may not be cheap, but you get a host of goodies for your money.

The R340 boasts pretty much every feature the digital enthusiast could hanker after – from extensive support for PictBridge and USB Direct Print-compatible digital cameras to a memory card drive. Wireless capabilities are an optional extra. The R340 comes with a CD and DVD compartment so you can print images onto suitable media – an excellent alternative to LightScribe or LabelFlash. And thanks to the 2.4in colour LCD and extensive control panel, the printer is easy to navigate without connecting to a PC.

The Photo R430 doesn't just aim to please the digitally minded, and the paper-handling facilities feel rather more substantial than some of the flimsy holders found on cheaper inkjets. With the ability to take up to 120 sheets of A4, this printer is excellent for large jobs.

But if you're looking for an everyday printer, be warned that print speeds aren't stunning. Even in the lowest quality mode, the Epson printed out text at the slothful rate of 8.6ppm (pages per minute) – 1.6ppm faster than its predecessor, but hardly impressive. Furthermore, to get good-quality text you really have to push it up to the higher modes and be content with less than a page every minute.

However this is a photo printer and, while its speeds aren't searing, the Epson still compares favourably with many of its direct rivals. Crucially, the results are extremely eyecatching: prints are packed with colour depth and detail is sharp. We doubt you could be anything less than enthralled.

Epson Stylus Photo R340: Specs

  • Max res 5,760x1,440dpi
  • claimed print speed B=15ppm C=15ppm
  • actual print speed B=8.6ppm C=6.9ppm
  • ink costs B=£17 C=£17 x 5
  • print life (pages) B=400 C=400
  • supports USB 2.0
  • 1-year warranty
  • 483x300x188mm
  • 5.4kg
  • Max res 5,760x1,440dpi
  • claimed print speed B=15ppm C=15ppm
  • actual print speed B=8.6ppm C=6.9ppm
  • ink costs B=£17 C=£17 x 5
  • print life (pages) B=400 C=400
  • supports USB 2.0
  • 1-year warranty
  • 483x300x188mm
  • 5.4kg

OUR VERDICT

The Photo R340 faces fierce competition from the HP Photosmart 8250, and we think the HP retains a slight edge on overall quality and performance, but this is a good model.

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