Innovative printer: Stylus Photo 935

The Epson Stylus Photo 925 was packed to the rafters with connectivity options, combining versatility and innovation in a stand-alone photo printer that delivered great results. We couldn’t wait to get the 925’s latest sibling, the all-singing, all-dancing Epson Stylus Photo 935, into the Test Centre to see if it lived up to our expectations.

In effect, the Photo Stylus 935 is the same model as its predecessor with a few funky add-ons. Print quality and speed are identical as it utilises the same six-colour ink system and engine as the older 925, but there’s a spread of features that make the 935 peerless.

Base specifications alone are nothing to get excited about — there’s an optimised resolution of 5760dpi (dots per inch) for photo printing and a quoted print speed of 8.5ppm for both mono and colour. If you feel the need for speed, then avoid the 935 — we could only achieve 5ppm mono and 4.5ppm colour on the fastest setting.

You can hook up the 935 to a PC via a USB connection, it’s easy to install and is well complemented by a generous software bundle. But it’s in the 935’s capacity as a no-PC-required printer that Epson really went to town. This is the first Photo Stylus to feature Epson’s USB direct print technology, which allows you to output straight from a digital camera without removing the storage card.

If your camera doesn’t support direct print then you can use one of the built-in slots for memory storage cards. Secure Digital, CompactFlash, Microdrive, Memory Stick, Multimedia and SmartMedia are all supported, although the 935 can only take a SmartMedia card up to 128MB. With built-in Bluetooth, the 935 can wirelessly exchange data with other Blue­tooth devices. Another interesting addition to the Epson Stylus Photo is a USB port. If you have an external USB-based CD-RW drive you can plug it into the 935 and print photos from your CD or archive images from a memory card to a CD-R. Epson has made it virtually impossible to be unable to connect to the Stylus Photo 935 and anyone after home photolab printing without the use of a PC need look no further.

We were impressed to find onboard facilities for photo glossy roll media and a built-in cutter for cropping the paper. There’s also support for edge-to-edge printing — something we haven’t seen on any other inkjet models. The compre­hensive menu system is navigated by hardware buttons on the 935, so you can set up all the options required to tailor your printing.

How well does it actually print? Well, draft mode printing in colour text and graphics is far too light and suffers from banding. The already-expensive running costs are tabulated on this setting so you need only imagine the increased expenditure when you turn up the resolution. On the plus side, as a photo printer the Stylus 935 performs perfectly. The six-ink colour system provides a pleasing colour palette and detail is pin sharp.

IN BRIEF: Epson Stylus Photo 935 The 935 is not a great all-round inkjet printer — but then, it’s not meant to be. However, within its remit as a stand-alone home photolab, the Stylus Photo is an excellent buy. If money is no object then investing in this Epson model won’t leave you disappointed.
Price: $599
Vendor: Epson
Phone: (02) 8899 3666

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Spencer Dalziel

PC World
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