While many of today’s MFDs are designed to do almost everything except pour the coffee, the Epson Stylus SX445W prefers to keep things simpler. Not that it isn’t fully-featured. Wi-Fi is supported, so you can control the Stylus wire-free, for instance, while a built-in memory card drive lets you browse and print photos without needing to switch on your PC.
Indeed, you can even hook up your smartphone or tablet by using Epson iPrint. However, the Epson Stylus SX445W isn’t stuffed with endless features. Instead, it focuses on those facilities that’ll really improve the user experience. And it offers these for a very modest price tag, even if there are a few hitches that threaten to derail the Epson.
The first noticeable thing about the Epson Stylus SX445W is that there really isn’t much of it – it’s one of the new Small-in-one range, and Epson claims these models are, on average, 39% smaller than previous models.
Not that the Epson Stylus SX445W isn’t striking, and its curves are very nicely done. It’s even, dare we say it, cute. And its compact footprint ensures that you won’t be surrendering acres of desk – many of today’s MFDs spread themselves over a surprisingly large area.
The control panel is a strange mixture of old and new. Garish orange icons aren’t the most attractive we’ve seen, and while the buttons are touch-sensitive, you’re still using them to move up and down a text menu. It’s a far cry from the Lexmark S605 system, for instance, which gives you all manner of beautifully crafted icons and pictures to press directly on the screen.
For all that, the Epson Stylus SX445W remains pretty easy to use. The system is logical, clear and reasonably detailed. And the Back and Home buttons are always present should you want to retrace any of your steps or jump back to the main menu. It may feel a little old-fashioned, but the Epson Stylus SX445W’s control panel is at least effective.
When it comes to quality, the Epson Stylus SX445W is very much a mixed bag. Text quality is far from ideal. The obligatory super-fast mode hits a strong figure of 15.8ppm, but the text is so light as to be almost unusable. The middle-order print mode offers much darker output at the solid rate of 5.7ppm, although characters aren’t as crisp as we’d like. Even in a fairly sizeable font, the letters lack total clarity, despite using the setup options to fine-tune the ink.
Graphics printing, however, is much better. Ignore the ultra-faint 5.9ppm fast mode, and instead go for the middle 1.8ppm option, and while the speed isn’t particularly competitive, the quality of the prints are good on both normal and photographic paper. The colour palette may be a little too dark for some, but we liked its intensity and found the resulting prints invigorating.
The scanning componentof the Epson Stylus SX445W suffers from a fairly flimsy lid, and there isn’t as much lift as we’d like, so scanning thick material may be a problem. Nonetheless, the results were generally fairly accurate, with colours reproduced with some fidelity.
Running costs aren’t the best we’ve seen. The Epson Stylus SX445W will set you back around 3.2p for a page of text, and 8p for colour. The latter is typical for Epson printers, but some of the Canons, for instance, cost less than 7p for a page of colour. It’s not extortionate, but the Epson Stylus SX445W will cost you slightly more over the long term.