MFD great for photos: Stylus CX6500

Multifunction devices (MFDs), which print, scan and copy, continue to improve. Notable on this CX6500 is a versatile flash memory interface with built-in support for all major flash formats including CompactFlash, Secure Digital, xD-Picture and Memory Stick. You can whip a memory card out of your digital camera, slot it into the CX6500 and print photos without switching to your PC. In fact, operating the CX6500 independently of the PC is easy thanks to the built-in 2.5in LCD panel with clearly laid out menu.

Such features would be a waste if the unit's performance didn't match up, but Epson has an excellent track record here and the inkjet capabilities are exemplary. Not only does the CX6500 offer print resolutions up to 5760dpi, it can turn out up to 11ppm (pages per minute) in black and white and 3.5ppm in colour. Prints are colourful and precise in every resolution.

Text is also good. The second quality mode generates a comfortable 5ppm and produces more than acceptable results.

The scanning component isn't as impressive: scanning times (for example, 37sec and 1min 32sec for an A4 scan at 300dpi and 600dpi respectively) aren't as fast as its predecessor. Scan quality is great though, and the ability to restore the look of faded photographs is most welcome.

It's good to see Epson trying to standardise consumables across its inkjet and MFD ranges. Running costs for the CX6500 are comparatively low for an inkjet printer and all up, this is an extremely good MFD for anyone interested in photo printing.

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