Epson B-510DN inkjet printer

The Epson B-510DN inkjet printer rivals colour lasers with its high print speeds and low ink costs

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Epson B-510DN
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Low ink costs, fast printing, automatic duplexing

Cons

  • High initial outlay

Bottom Line

Businesses interested in a colour laser printer should look at this alternative before they buy. The Epson B-510DN inkjet is fast, very cheap to use, and prints better photos.

Would you buy this?

The Epson B-510DN could become the first crossover color inkjet printer success, outperforming the other members of its cohort--along with many lower-end colour lasers--in print speed and cost per page. All this talent comes at a high initial price. But if you need speed, volume, and economy, plus good photo printing, the B-510DN is well worth considering.

The B-510DN's design is efficient rather than aesthetically pleasing. Replacing consumables is a snap, thanks to the front ink-cartridge bay, but the bay protrudes awkwardly from the unit's face. The control panel consists of a two-line monochrome LCD and a few buttons whose purposes are clear even without word labels. The front input tray holds 500 letter-size/legal-size sheets and has a 170-sheet output tray on top. A rear input accepts envelopes and the like (or another 150 sheets of paper). It can connect via USB or Ethernet. Automatic duplexing is included as a standard feature.

Pages virtually flew out of the B-510DN. On the PC, the printer generated plain-text pages at an average speed of 14.7 pages per minute, and 4-by-6-inch colour photos on letter-size media at 3.4ppm. On the Mac, it delivered plain-text pages at 13.82ppm, and a four-page PDF of mixed text and graphics arrived at a rate of 2ppm. A high-resolution colour photo (at near-full-page size) printed at 1.1ppm.

Print quality was very good. Photos on Epson's own matte paper had accurate colors and a slightly dotty (but even) texture. The same images on plain paper looked washed out and grainy. Text printed on plain paper appeared nicely dark but a little fuzzy--one of the few areas where similarly priced lasers and even the HP OfficeJet Pro 8000 Wireless fared a little better.

The B-510DN's consumables are inexpensive. Its standard-size supplies include a $50.99, 3000-page black cartridge (which works out to 1.69 cents per page) and $60.99, 3500-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges (1.74 cents per colour per page). The high-yield colours each cost $72.99 and last 7000 pages, or 1.04 cent per colour per page. Epson also offers two larger black tanks: a $60.99 4000-page cartridge; and a $84.99 8000-page cartridge. The former marginally reduces the cost per page to 1.52 cents (hardly worth the bother), while the latter cuts per-page expense to just 1.06 cents. The Oki C610dtn colour LED printer costs a little more and is a little faster, but its toner is a bit more expensive, too.

The Epson B-510DN removes nearly all question of whether an inkjet printer can succeed in business. It offers competitive speeds and ink costs--enough to make vendors of some lower-end colour lasers nervous.

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