The Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD is a multifunction printer that, although it may be aimed primarily at photographers, its fierce mix of features and price will make it an adored addition to many a home. This printer's low-slung appearance and beautiful dark finish give it a certain brutal charm, although it adopts a modern approach to every aspect. See also: Group test: what's the best multifunction printer?
The interface eschews touchscreen facilities for a hybrid system that combines the colourful 2.5in display with a series of lurid green buttons. The system works moderately well, although we miss the punch-and-go feel of touchscreen models. The display itself suffers from poor viewing angles, and you need to be directly in front of the screen if you want to, for example, flick through your pictures with any ease. The Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD will prove adequate as a PC-free model, but we would prefer to see a higher quality display. Read more inkjet printer reviews.
Otherwise, the Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD is very much a machine featured for 2013. The clever design adds to the chunky 120-sheet paper tray with a second dedicated 20-sheet photo holder. And the printer can seamlessly switch from one tray to the other as the situation demands it. We found this photo tray easier to use than some, too. PictBridge is included for USB sticks, and the Epson also plays host to an incredibly versatile memory card drive – it even supports less common formats such as CompactFlash and xD-Picture.
A Wi-Fi connection adds convenience, but you also get an Ethernet port, for those times you might want to add the Epson to an office network. You can even hook up to mobile devices courtesy of Epson iPrint. The Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD can also print directly on to compatible CDs and DVDs.
Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD: software
The Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD doesn't stop at the hardware, and the bumper software bundle includes ABBYY FineReader Sprint, for excellent OCR work. The scan program has a nice range of features, and its multiple modes allow you to set exactly the right level of difficulty. For doing more in-depth scanning that involves extracting different elements from a page, the Epson is a sturdy bet.
Epson printers traditionally try to boost their speed figures by using a draft mode that seems drained of all colour. Move beyond the Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD's blistering but almost pointless 19.4ppm draft mode though, and it remains highly capable - 11.5ppm text speed in the middle mode is an excellent achievement. And the output is of good quality, with clear and sharp characters. Colour graphics are highly capable, with the 5.8ppm middle mode combining a swift turn of foot with an appetising palette. However, the photo results are where the Epson really takes off. Its 80 second speed is decent, but the output explodes off the paper, with the Owl Photographic ink ensuring searing results.
The running costs are on the high side, however, at 3.4p for a page of black and 9p for colour.
Copying was fast, and the Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD retains its speed advantage even here. Better still, the copies were realistic and faithful to their source material. The Epson is a good all-rounder for scanning. Fast without being blistering, and capable of balanced images with good attention to detail, it's a slick performer, even if the scanning lid isn't as robust as we'd like.
Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD: running costs
- Price of Ink Tanks: B = £16 C = £16 x 5
- Ink Tank Page Yields: B = 470 C = 883
- Cost per Page: B = 3.4p C = 9p
Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD: print speeds
- Monochrome print speed: 19.4ppm
- Colour print speed: 13.6ppm
- Colour 4x6 photo speed (max quality): 80 secs
- Scan speed (A4 image at 300 dpi): 15 secs