Epson Stylus Photo RX610
- Sharp output, relatively quick, can print on printable CDs and DVDs
- Scans suffered from some colour-shift, it's a thirsty beast when used solely for photo prints
In the end, the RX610 is worth its $299 price tag. Its photo reproduction is sharp as a blade, it's versatile (it'll print, copy and scan) and easy to use.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Epson's RX610 is a multi-function device that's primarily aimed at users who want to print digital photos, as well as scan old photos, and make photocopies of documents and photos. It's a sizeable device with a straight paper path, which means it will take up a fair bit of space on a desk as the paper is loaded from the rear and collected from the front. It connects to a PC via a USB cable.
The RX610 can print on A4, 6x4in sheets, or even on printable CDs and DVDs. For the latter, a disc tray is provided which can be inserted once the paper tray lever has been set to accommodate it. Epson supplies software that allows photos and text to be laid out on a disc, but it can be a little awkward to use, especially when laying out text. A standard CD or DVD print will complete in a couple of minutes, and the results are decent, but could use a little more contrast.
Elsewhere, the RX610 supports PictBridge and has a memory card reader (for CompactFlash MS Pro, xD and SD cards). A 2.5in colour LCD screen allows changes to the settings to be viewed, as well as photos off memory cards, but it's a dark screen that doesn't tilt, which means that dark photos, in particular, can be hard to see.
The unit's menu system can be navigated easily using the arrow and selection buttons on the control panel. It even includes features such as red-eye reduction and luminance adjustments, which can be used when printing directly from a memory card.
Under the hood, the RX610 requires six ink cartridges to run -- cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan and light magenta -- which each have 90 nozzles. These cartridges sit on the printhead itself and travel side to side with each print. The amount of vibration from the printer is minimal and noise isn't an issue except during paper feed actions. As for consumption, after 22 6x4in photos were printed, yellow was the most consumed colour (two-thirds was used), black and blue were the least used (less than half was used). For big jobs, it's best to have spare cartridges on hand (they can cost from $17 to $25 each).
Quality-wise, the RX610 produces images with excellent definition and its colours are good. Its speed is adequate: a typical 6x4in photo will print out in just over 2min, either from a PC or a memory card, while a full page of black 10-point text will print in around 16sec. The text quality from this unit is very sharp on plain paper; there was barely any feathering, and reverse text (with coloured background highlights) was clearly legible. Small text and bolded text came out clear and perfectly readable, too. These results were gained at the printer's default 'text' setting, but ink can be saved when printing documents using the 'draft' mode. In 'draft', a full page of text was printed in eight seconds; it was jagged in shape and brown in colour, but easy to read.
Printing photos through Windows Vista's photo viewer and default settings, the results were slightly washed out. Photos that were printed directly off a memory card, using the printer's default settings, had a little more contrast and were a little more pleasing on the eyes. As for scans, the unit can scan an A4 page in well under one minute at 300dpi. It uses a CIS sensor, which produces scans with good detail, but we noticed a slight colour-shift when comparing the scan to the original document.
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