Epson Stylus Photo TX800FW
A feature-packed multifunction for small offices.
- Touch-panel controls, CD/DVD printing, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, good quality text documents, quick print speeds
- Some unintuitive design features, touch panel gets in the way, some colour accuracy issues
Though the TX800FW isn’t the best photo printer on the market, it is one of the most feature-packed and it has an unusual design. There are some minor issues but it remains a standout multifunction.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Epson hopes to turn heads with the TX800FW, packing it with more than enough features to justify the price tag and giving it a design that departs from the norm. The result is a business multifunction that sacrifices photo-perfect quality in favour of speed and functionality, making it a good choice for small offices.
The TX800FW boasts a Milanese Italian design that is quite unusual, but the unit’s features are the real head-turners. The TX800FW boasts a fax, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, CD/DVD printing and a card reader supporting MemoryStick, SD, xD and CompactFlash. There is also a PictBridge USB port, but like other Epson models it is depressed into the unit, making it impossible to use larger USB drives. The only features lacking are Bluetooth connectivity and an automatic duplex function, though both of these are options.
The TX800FW features a 7.8in touch panel made up of three separate areas: a 3.5in colour touch screen in the centre for photos and context-sensitive options is flanked by two fixed side panels displaying the printer’s control scheme.
Though we can’t test the TX800FW’s ability to facilitate increased productivity over time, our experiences were largely positive. The side panels feature backlit touch options that light up when they are relevant for a given task. All three panels are very responsive. Though there is no tactile feedback, users shouldn't have any trouble during everyday use.
There are some downsides to the design. The panel is height adjustable but it is a little haphazard. Although users can lift the panel up by pulling it gently, putting the panel back in line with the multifunction’s body requires the user to hit an easily missed unlock button on the multifunction itself. The panel’s size and placement at the front of the multifunction is also quite awkward, often getting in the way of the CD/DVD tray.
Like HP’s Photosmart C6380, the TX800FW boasts separate trays for normal, photo and CD media. Epson even manages to go one step further by integrating the CD tray into the multifunction itself, rather than using a loose palette like HP and Canon. The motorised tray takes an average of 10 seconds to eject before use, but users don't have to worry about losing the palette.
The TX800FW is one of the faster multifunctions in its price range, printing a mono text document at an average of 25 pages per minute in draft mode, with the first page out in 10.6sec. Using normal quality, this slows to 8.6ppm. Graphical documents are similarly fast, with draft quality tests producing 25ppm and documents printing at 8.9ppm using normal quality. Photos are fast as well: the TX800FW takes 24.5sec to print a standard 4x6in photo and 1min 9sec to produce an A4 photo.
Though the TX800FW is capable of printing reasonable photos, they certainly won’t blow your mind. Clearly geared towards the office, the multifunction produces very readable text with good clarity and accuracy. Colours, however, aren’t as accurate and vibrant as they should be; they will do the job for graphical documents, but photos suffer.
Epson has eradicated the banding issues that have plagued inkjet printers for years, but colour accuracy issues remain, particularly with yellows and over-saturated blues. For the occasional photograph the TX800FW will do the job, but there are better dedicated photo printers available.
Printed CDs and DVDs are of particularly poor quality, producing dull prints. The results are highly dependent on the media used. However we used the same media for both the TX800FW and Photosmart C6380, and the Epson suffers by comparison. Nevertheless, the accompanying software is much more comprehensive than that offered by HP, and it will suffice for simple titles and graphics.
Scanning quality isn’t perfect but it is acceptable. Colour is a little dull compared to the source image and text can become slightly blurry, particularly when superimposed on a colour background. For the most part, though, the TX800FW does a decent job of scanning and the foldable automatic document feeder should help immensely for long office documents.
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