Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Epson Stylus CX3500
- Individual ink cartridges, quiet, great print quality
- No card reader or PictBridge support, long scan time
A great all-rounder for those on a budget.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
The CX3500 distinguishes itself by having four individual ink cartridges rather than one black and one tri-colour. Its ink uses Epson's DuraBrite technology, which improves protection against strong light. It does not have a built-in card reader, nor does it support PictBridge.
We were pleasantly surprised by low noise emission from this unit during printing. It also has a very smooth roller and paper-eject mechanisms, which are barely audible as the paper moves past the print heads and then finally rests on the output tray.
The CX3500 is a very flexible document printer and allows for up to four quality modes to be selected: economy, draft, normal and fine. These modes can be selected from the Advanced section of the print driver. In fine quality, the text is razor sharp and not overly dark, while normal mode prints out slightly lighter text at a lower resolution. Economy mode produces very light grey text suitable for proofreading, while draft mode produces slightly darker text that is very blocky.
Its photo quality output was excellent during our tests, with no noticeable banding and realistic colour tones. It managed to print an A4 colour photo in 13 minutes 47 seconds.
The print driver supports reverse printing and manual two-sided printing. The printer can also produce borderless prints at up to A4 size.
We are used to getting great quality scans from Epson equipment and the CX3500 proved that it can also capture accurate colour and greyscale input. It took much longer than many its peers to scan in a full-colour A4 photo (1 minute 44 seconds), especially with the descreen setting enabled. Unfortunately, this model does not ship with any OCR software.
Its photocopy quality wasn't as good as we'd hoped it would be, with text copies in particular suffering from blurred text that was tiring to read. Colour photocopies were quite good, though, with plenty of detail, but the colour matching compared to our original document was slightly off.
We like the fact that this model has separate ink cartridges as it allows the user to manage ink in a more flexible manner. Its control panel is conveniently situated on the left-hand side of the unit, which means books can be scanned in without activating any unwanted functions, and the square design and removable scan lid also help greatly when scanning from large books.
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