For its price tag, the Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction packs in plenty of features. CD/DVD printing, automatic duplexing and a touch-sensitive control panel make this printer a decent choice for the home office, though documents lack professional quality.
The Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction is almost identical in design to the Stylus Photo TX800FW; both have a "cutting-edge Italian styling" (according to Epson) that makes for a rather unusual though attractive look. The design works well: the automatic document feeder closes when not in use, and the CD/DVD tray is integrated into the printer so you won't lose the pallet and have to fork out for a replacement.
The control panel's buttons light up when they can be used.
On the front of the printer are three touch-sensitive panels. The middle one is a full colour LCD screen that displays photos as well as the menu interface. This is flanked by two panels that display the main control functions, with buttons illuminated in orange when they can be pressed.
The interface and panel are easy to use, though some small idiosyncrasies can become slightly annoying. For instance, you have to hit the "Menu" button to change between letter cases and numerals when inputting a wireless network password; hitting the small case and numeral icons on the screen itself won't work. The sheer size of the panel means it can get in the way easily, and must be tilted upwards when inserting a CD or DVD for printing.
The Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction offers USB, Ethernet, 802.11g Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 33.6Kbps fax. Though you're already looking at a fairly hefty initial outlay, Bluetooth is a $79 optional extra. The multi-card reader supports SD, xD, Memory Stick and CompactFlash. The PictBridge USB port can communicate with compatible mobile phones and digital cameras, and even lets you plug in compatible external CD burners to back up memory card data. The printer will recognise USB flash drives, but can only print pictures from them.
The Stylus Photo TX810FW's front paper cassette can fit 120 sheets at a time. There's also a separate photo paper tray, though to reach this you'll have to pull the paper cassette almost completely out.
|Print Speed Results|
|A4 photo |
|Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW
|Epson Stylus Photo TX800FW
|Epson Stylus Photo TX710W
|HP Photosmart Premium C309a
|Lexmark Interact S605
|Canon PIXMA MP990
The Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW prints faster than the competition in draft mode, but results are faded and unattractive. In "text" mode, documents are a more acceptable quality, though it prints slower than similarly priced inkjet multifunctions.
The Stylus Photo TX810FW uses a capillary tube system, which means ink cartridges remain in a stationary dock, with ink fed through small tubes to a separated printhead. Since the printhead is lighter, the multifunction should theoretically be quieter than printers that load the consumables onto the printhead. Unfortunately, the Stylus Photo TX810FW is still noisy when printing. Epson includes a quiet mode in the print settings which does reduce the noise, but it slows printing for normal quality mono and colour documents to 3.4 pages per minute and 3.5ppm, respectively.
While no printer is completely immune from paper jams, the Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction can be annoying when one does occur. We had to turn the printer off and on again and, even then, the printer refused to print without cleaning itself for five to 10 minutes. We encountered jams several times during testing, which meant up to half an hour of waiting while the printer readjusted itself.
Document print quality is acceptable for school work and hard copies around the office, but is too inaccurate for professional use, particularly at smaller font sizes. Colours in graphical documents also lack vibrancy, appearing under-saturated and muddy when mixed with text.
Photos, however, are a different matter. When using glossy media the Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction excels at producing crisp, detailed and vibrant photos. As with the Stylus Photo TX710W, black and white photos are the best example, with dark tones that still retain minute details. Colour images could do with slightly better colour accuracy, but we would still recommend this model for regular photo printing. At 19.1c per A4 page, consumable costs are reasonable, though they could be better for an inkjet multifunction at this price.
The Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction can scan directly to PDFs, images, e-mail clients and memory cards. Though the printer can scan over Ethernet and Wi-Fi, this has to be initiated from the computers themselves; we were unable to set up the control panel's shortcut buttons to recognise networked computers. Quality will suffice for both photos and documents.
While we wouldn't recommend the Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW inkjet multifunction for workgroups or medium offices, there are enough features to warrant its use as a printer in a home office. The quality of printed documents is the main issue; scans and photo prints are of a much higher standard.
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