Epson Stylus Photo T50 inkjet printer

This dedicated Epson inkjet printer is good for photo and text duties, but home offices should look elsewhere

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Epson Stylus Photo T50

Pros

  • Great photo quality for its price, average text quality and high speeds

Cons

  • No scanning features, high ink replacement costs, no graphical interface

Bottom Line

Epson's Stylus Photo T50 may not be a particularly feature-packed inkjet printer -- it has no colour screen and it's not a multifunction -- but when it comes to photographic printing it soundly beats similarly priced competitors. It's not the right choice for a small office or home office, but it would suit a budget-conscious photography or digital imaging enthusiast.

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The Epson Stylus Photo T50 is a mid-priced inkjet printer that delivers impressive text documents and photos. The Stylus Photo T50 is priced around the same point as Canon's PIXMA MP550 and PIXMA MX350. But unlike those printers, the T50 is not a multifunction device. The lack of scanning and faxing capabilities reduces its usefulness in a home office environment, and the lack of a graphical interface makes computer-free use impossible. When it comes to printing photos, though, the Epson Stylus Photo T50 performs markedly better than Canon's jack-of-all-trades.

The Epson Stylus Photo T50 is a very simple printer to set up and install. A USB port and power socket are all you'll find on the rear panel — no Ethernet connection is offered. There are unfortunately no memory card slots to be found, nor is there a PictBridge port, so you must have a PC connected to print with the Stylus Photo T50. Setup takes a few minutes using the bundled CD, which also installs a suite of printing and maintenance software. Included in the mix is Epson's software for printing directly onto CDs when using the included tray attachment.

Paper loads from the vertical rear tray at the back of the Epson Stylus Photo T50. Only 120 sheets of plain A4 paper can be loaded, so you'll have to refill the paper often if you regularly print long documents. The Epson Stylus Photo T50 prints at an average speed in maximum quality mode. Churning out A4 prints at Best Photo quality takes 5min 25sec on average, while 6x4in photos are much faster at an average of 2min 15sec. Our test document, which includes black text and colour graphs, printed at an average of one page per 17.2sec in Standard quality. Text was clean with only a small amount of bleeding when printing small characters.

The Epson Stylus Photo T50 has a total of six ink tanks — joining the standard black, yellow, cyan and magenta cartridges are light cyan and light magenta, allowing for finer gradation in full-colour photo prints. Replacement costs are steep: high yield cartridges costs $27, so racking up six new ink tanks will set you back nearly the price of the Stylus Photo T50. At a yield of 540 pages for black and 860 pages for colour, the on-going cost of running the Epson Stylus Photo T50 is 20.7c per page, which is slightly cheaper than competitors.

Photo print quality is the Epson Stylus Photo T50's ace card. It may not have dozens of special features, but when it comes to full-colour A4 printing we found the Stylus Photo T50 to be noticeably better than the competition. Glossy and matte A4 prints are detailed with no visible blurriness or oversaturation. Blacks are pleasantly deep and we didn't notice any banding in areas of complex gradation. Reds and purples are slightly more vibrant than other hues; this may be due to the dual magenta and cyan tanks.

The Epson Stylus Photo T50 is great for its price when it comes to full-colour photo prints. Both our 6x4in and A4 prints had good detail and colour accuracy. It performs roughly on par with similarly priced printers when it comes to text reproduction and print speed, and while it lacks scanning functions, PictBridge and memory card slots, it excels when printing detailed photographic work.

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