Visually the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD inkjet photo printer may not be the most sumptuous, and its low-cut squat casing lacks awe and wonder. The main paper tray can take up to 120 sheets and is built into the bottom of the printer. This is robust, if lacking the versatility of the Canon PIXMA MG5250. Like the Pixma, the Epson has an additional feature for printing directly to discs as well.
The Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD's control panel is old-fashioned. A hybrid of physical buttons and touch sensitivity, it employs a touch-sensitive direction pad to run through the options on the menus. It doesn't feel as special as tapping the screen options directly. Neither were we totally convinced by the rather lurid orange colour used for some (but not all) of the main icons, but navigating the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD is intuitive enough.
The Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD has plenty of options to browse through, including the quirky (colouring books, ruled paper printing) and the helpful (the informative Problem Solver). It's also a nice printer to use with memory cards and USB drives, and the vivid 2.5in (6.3cm) TFT display is good at letting you cycle through each picture. You can get another view of card contents with the option for printing photo layout sheets.
The Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD's connectivity options are powerful, and extend to both wireless (802.11b/g/n) and wired networks. One of only two multifunction printers we looked at in our photo printers group test to have ethernet facilities, the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD will work as beautifully in an office as in a home environment. Auto duplexing is built in as well, and the ample software bundle includes ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Sprint.
The scanner lid is quite flimsy, although the hinges do allow for a small amount of flexibility when it comes to larger objects. Provided you don't want too high a resolution, the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD works very well as a scanner. Taking just 14 seconds to produce a 300dpi image, the Epson fills its scans with plenty of colour and detail. However, move up to 600dpi and the time goes up alarmingly - at 2 minutes and 17 seconds, it becomes one of the slowest in our photo printers test. We can't explain why the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD should be so fast at lower resolutions and so slow at higher ones, but it's worth testing a model should you be interested in high-resolution scanning.
The six colour tanks are located at the front of the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD. We wish Epson had gone the whole hog and allowed us to access the tanks from a front-mounted door (as with the Brother DCP-J715W), but it's still nice to have them close at hand. The running costs for mono prints are better value than those for colour, with the former running at around 2p a page.
The Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD is the fastest photo printer we looked at, easily popping out prints in a fraction of the time of other models. Its 10-second standard mode is almost three times as fast as many of the printers here. The top mode for standard paper requires just 36 seconds, and even the highest quality glossy prints were available in around a minute and a quarter. So that makes it doubly pleasing to note the high quality of the output. The palette is delicate but colourful. The Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD really brought out the detail in our prints across all modes, and handled our trickiest obstacles without a blur out of place, or a colour gradient that wasn't beautifully mixed. Glossy prints are spectacular, with the sparkling colour really grabbing the attention.
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