Epson Stylus Photo RX430

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Epson Stylus Photo RX430

Pros

  • Four ink tanks, vivid printouts

Cons

  • Poor location for memory card reader, slow colour prints

Bottom Line

Epson's Stylus Photo RX430 offers excellent--if slightly slow--four-colour printing.

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Epson's Stylus Photo RX430 is an inkjet multifunction device designed to handle printing, copying and scanning duties in a home or small office. Although laser printers have crashed in price over the last two years, ink is still more popular for the home because of the lower cost and superior photo-printing capabilities.

The RX430 relies on four separate tanks to store ink (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). Epson's high-end photo inkjet printers employ up to eight cartridges for finer levels of tone, but this four-colour model does a great job of producing bright, vivid, colour-accurate photo prints. Epson attributes this to some impressive engineering within the print heads. The heads incorporate Variable Size Dot Technology (VSDT) and Epson MicroPeizo Technology, where the printer is able to produce incredibly small ink droplets to increase resolution and colour accuracy.

The machine boasts a 5760 x 1440 dpi (optimised) resolution for printing and spat out A4 text pages at a recorded rate of 14 pages per minute in economy mode. A full-page borderless A4 print took substantially longer, completing the job in about 2 minutes. The machine was slow to print full-page A4 photos, but the results were worth waiting for. The paper feeder holds about 100 sheets, which is fine for home, but may not be enough for a small office.

The 48-bit A4 scanner features an optical resolution of 1200dpi, and a row of buttons on the front face of the grey and silver machine provides easy access to copying and scanning functions. Both colour and black-and-white copy modes are available, and the machine ships with a comprehensive suite of Mac and Windows applications that cover the gamut of the machine's capabilities.

The Epson features a USB interface and includes a built-in memory card reader that handles an enormous range of card formats, including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD, MMC, and xD-Picture Card. It's also possible to operate the printer without being connected to a computer--it can produce contact sheets and borderless prints directly off the memory card, which is a substantial timesaver if the user just wants to grab a couple of quick photos. The card reader is nestled on the recessed front fascia under the control panel, which runs down the left-hand side of the top cover. The positioning makes it difficult to find the appropriate memory card slot if the printer is on a low table or desk.

All up, the Epson Stylus Photo RX430 is a well-appointed inkjet multifunction printer and would be well suited to the varied demands of a home or small office with light printing needs.

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