Whenever I read about inkjet printers, more often than not, it is complaints about how expensive the ink cartridges are and that we live in a rip-off society. Over the years, I have come to learn (as some of you may have also experienced), that some manufacturers do in fact charge extortionate amounts for refills. Epson do not fit into this category, they have always touted how individual ink cartridges save you money and followed through with very good pricing. The Epson RX560 fits right into this category, using six individual ink cartridges, which can be replaced for as little as £6.99 each, so running costs for this all-in-one unit are going to be very good.
Now, I may as well admit it, but having reviewed many printers before, this is my first time to take a look at an all-in-one solution. The RX560 offers a six-colour inkjet printer, that fits into Epson’s ‘Stylus Photo’ range, it also has a flat bed scanner, so you can scan either in Epson’s software or in any twain compliant application, such as Photoshop, but wait, there’s more, you can also place something on the scanner glass and copy it, without even switching your computer on.
All this, plus there is also a memory card reader on the front of the unit, along with a 2.5 inch LCD screen for viewing settings and the photos stored on your memory card. So again, you can print out great looking photos without the use of a computer. There is also Pictbridge support, so you can connect you digital camera direct to the printer.
To top things off, the RX560 is also capable of printing directly onto CD’s and DVD’s that have a white printable surface. I have used an Epson R300 before and printing direct onto a disk is very handy. The RX560 delivers the sort of quality you would expect, with the only change here being the mechanism for sliding in the CD tray. Tucked away inside the paper output tray is a small blue lever, pop this down and the paper tray then adjusts to allow you to insert your disk in the supplied holder... it really is that simple.
So, the RX560 seems to offer a lot of features, but how good does it perform? I am hoping that it delivers the goods we have all come to expect from Epson, read on to find out…
First up, we will take a look at the printing quality. New inks in the form of Claria ink technology promise superior quality and up to 200 years durability when stored correctly. This sounds fantastic and is a great advance for keeping prints looking good for a very long time. The actual depth and vibrancy of the prints are astounding, the 5760x1440dpi resolution (when used) delivers so much detail that you will not be able to distinguish the Epson prints from lab photos.
The scanner offers an A4 size flatbed, an optical scanning resolution of 1200x2400dpi, with software supplied that is fully twain compatible, allowing you to use the scanner directly from within Photoshop. The resulting scans, as with the printouts are very details, have good depth and more importantly when scanning, they are very true to the original, with colour accuracy being very good. In use the scanner is a little noisier than a standalone flatbed, this is probably due to the noise of the scanhead being amplified by the cavernous printer underneath it. Don’t take this comment too seriously, as it is not obtrusive at all.
The menu system is superb, a nice bright 2.5 inch LCD screen which changes according to the mode you are in. A three-way mode button allows you to choose between ‘Copy’, ‘Memory Card’ and ‘Speciality Print’. When you have selected your mode, to the right of the screen you have four way arrow control buttons, with an OK button in the centre, plus a button at each corner of the screen. The main arrow control buttons allow easy navigation around the menu system and everything is laid out logically. With so many options and settings to choose from an intuitive menu is essential and Epson have done everything right.
Memory card support is good too, with compact flash, secure digital, memory stick and xd picture card slots hidden behind a smoked plastic panel. Navigating through the pictures is really easy and you can select individual pictures to print, all pictures, or go through selecting a different quantity of each one to print. You can even scan off the flatbed straight onto a memory card. The RX560 also acts as a memory card reader, so you can transfer your photos onto you Mac or PC from the printer. This is great as it means if you were previously using a memory card reader you regain one of your used USB ports. The printout of photos (I was using 7x5 glossy paper) is both quick and delivers stunning quality yet again.
The Epson RX560 offers so much to the end user and at a very reasonable cost. Think about it, if you were to go and buy a good quality inkjet printer, you are looking in the £100 range at least, add a scanner into the equation and to get a scanner of equal quality you need to splash out another £100, then add in a memory card reader at say £15, a colour inkjet copier at £100 and you can soon see where I am going with this. For under £150 you can have it all, great printouts, excellent scanning, all that extra convenience, wrapped up in a nicely designed, well laid out unit. The RX560 should be top of your list if you are looking for an all-in-one device. Now I just have to beg Epson to let me keep this one, I can feel the withdrawal symptoms already.
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Product supplied by Epson UK
Retail price: £149.00
Contact: 08702 416900
Link to product.