Epson Stylus CX6500
- Very quiet, good copying ability
- Slightly flat printing, no LCD
We recommend this unit for anyone who wants an all-in-one imaging unit for the office or the home. Its print and scan quality are excellent and the inclusion of a memory card reader is very convenient.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
The vendor's spiel about this multifunction unit has a lot of large numbers relating to resolution and speed. They don't even mention the fact that the printer in this unit is one of the quietest on the market. The moving print head and rollers can barely be heard when it is printing, even in fast mode.
This quietness makes the CX6500 the perfect unit for the small office that requires a lot of photo printouts. It's also the perfect printer to have at home if the user doesn't want to disturb their family members or housemates while printing.
The unit can print, scan and photocopy, but doesn't contain a fax modem, even though it has a number pad on its front panel.
On this model, Epson touts its DuraBrite ink technology, which, according to the company, can withstand spills and has extra protection from ultraviolet light.
The input tray at the rear of this unit can hold up to 70 sheets of paper and, at its highest quality setting, the printer produced text at close to laser-quality. During our tests text documents were very sharp and not overly black at the highest quality setting. At this quality setting, a full page of text took just 40 seconds to produce. Normal mode produced slightly lighter coloured text and less crisp lettering in just 22 seconds, while economy mode produced light grey text at low resolution for comfortable proofreading in just 16 seconds.
At the photo-quality setting, the printer produced images with excellent detail and with barely noticeable colour banding in areas of gradation, although their colouring did lean more towards the blue end of the spectrum. We noticed that the Epson ink on glossy paper did not shine as much as the results from other printers, which gave the photo output a slightly flat-looking finish.
Printing from memory cards is possible via the built-in card reader, but because it doesn't have a large colour LCD, an index page must be printed first. On the index page, the user selects which photos they want printed, and at what quality, by filling in the circles on the page with a pen and then scanning the sheet. The unit recognises the selections from the scan and will print the photos without further interaction.
During our tests, full colour A4 scans completed in just 43 seconds, while greyscale images completed in 39 seconds. Colour and greyscale scans showed excellent detail and colour accuracy at 300dpi. OCR is handled by supplied ABBYY software and its accuracy at extracting printed text proved to be 100 percent--it even picked up "rr" correctly.
When the TWAIN driver is initially launched to perform a scan, the scan will commence automatically, without allowing the user to manipulate any settings. This is fine for quick jobs, but is not suitable if specific resolutions and settings are required. To be able to change the TWAIN settings the user must change to the Professional setting quickly once the TWAIN is launched.
This unit photocopied very well, but in our tests it was evident that slight colour detail was lost in photos, while text reproduction was a little muddy.
The large buttons and the inclusion of a number pad make the CX6500 very easy to use, and the dedicated shortcut function buttons for scanning and copying are a great time saver. Furthermore, the Epson Smart Panel software interface on the PC has an easy point-and-click interface that allows the user to quickly complete scanning tasks such as OCR and copying.
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