This is one of the cheapest models in Epson’s Stylus range, but the SX425W still produces very high quality text, graphics and photos.
It’s a multifunction device that also includes scanning and copying features, and the large scanner flatbed and control panel do make this one of the bulkier printers in this group, so you’ll need a reasonable amount of space to get it set up properly. However, it has built-in wireless networking as well, so you can stick it on a shelf somewhere and share it with everyone on your home network.
The printer is very easy to use, with well-designed driver software that includes simple presets for a variety of different types of document. There are even options for reducing red-eye in photos and enhancing low-quality photos such as those you’ve downloaded from the web or taken on a cameraphone.
Print quality is very good for text documents, with crisp black text that approaches laser-printer quality. Performance is good too – nowhere near the inflated 35 pages per minute quoted by Epson, but its 6ppm is still quite respectable for a printer that costs less than £50. Our only complaint here is that the SX425W makes a bit of a racket while churning out pages that fast. Epson’s clearly aware of this, as the printer driver includes a ‘quiet mode’ option to cut down the noise. However, this also reduces print speed, so the SX425W probably isn’t the best choice if you need to print a lot of pages in a hurry.
Colour performance is also more modest, dropping to 3ppm for text-and-graphics documents, and taking a full 100 seconds to produce a 4x6in print on glossy photo paper. However, the SX425W compensates for its slow photo printing with really high quality results – producing bright and colourful images with subtle, realistic skin tones.
Printing costs are a little above average, largely because Epson’s standard black ink cartridge only produces a relatively modest 200 pages. Mono text documents cost 4.7p per page, while colour printing goes up to 14p per page. However, Epson also sells larger ‘high yield’ ink cartridges that can produce many more pages, as well as value packs containing multiple cartridges, and these can reduce printing costs quite significantly.