Epson Stylus TX550W inkjet multifunction

A cheap inkjet multifunction with Wi-Fi connectivity

Epson Stylus TX550W
  • Epson Stylus TX550W
  • Epson Stylus TX550W
  • Epson Stylus TX550W
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Inexpensive to purchase and run, Ethernet/Wi-Fi connectivity, good print quality for monochrome and colour documents

Cons

  • Won't scan to memory cards or flash drives, poor photo print quality

Bottom Line

The Epson Stylus TX550W offers a media card reader, comprehensive connectivity and low running costs. It produces good quality documents too, though we'd suggest finding an alternative when it comes to printing photos.

Would you buy this?

Devoid of Epson's usual "Office" and "Photo" monikers, the Stylus TX550W is an all-purpose inkjet multifunction that can be used in the office or home. It lacks some key office functionality like automatic duplexing and an automatic document feeder, but it has low initial and ongoing costs, and plenty of connectivity. Unfortunately, it won't deliver particularly good photo prints.

The Epson Stylus TX550W inkjet multifunction displays several hallmarks of a low-cost multifunction. There's no paper cassette for a start, so all paper and media will have to be fed through a rear paper tray. Many of the printer's hinges and trays feel flimsy and difficult to use, and the printer is particularly rough with media (though we found it wasn't prone to paper jams).

The side control panel features a basic navigation pad and a 2.5in LCD, which is suitable for viewing photos and adjusting settings, but too small for photo editing.

For an inkjet multifunction at this price point, the connectivity is surprisingly comprehensive. USB 2.0, Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi are useful for connecting multiple computers, while the integrated media card reader supports the regular assortment of SD, xD, MemoryStick Pro formats, and even CompactFlash cards. You can plug PictBridge-compatible mobile phones and digital cameras into a front-mounted USB port, which can also print photos from USB flash drives. Unfortunately, the port is recessed into the printer, so you won't be able to use oddly shaped thumb drives.

Print Speed Results
Model Price Type B&W Draft
(ppm)
B&W Normal
(ppm)
Colour Draft
(ppm)
Colour Normal
(ppm)
4x6in photo
(seconds)
A4 photo
(minutes)
Epson Stylus TX550W $179 Inkjet 17.6 15.3 24 8.6 55.5 2m 35s
Brother MFC-250C $149 Inkjet 15.9 3.2 14.5 3.2 36 1m 36s
HP Officejet J4580 All-In-One $159 Inkjet 16.7 7.2 11.3 3.2 60s 3m
Epson Stylus Office TX510FN $169 Inkjet 22.2 17.2 9.2 4.1 2m 40s 5m 50s
Epson Stylus Photo TX650 $199 Inkjet 19.4 4.8 21.4 5.4 28 1m 49s
Brother MFC-290C $199 Inkjet 15.8 3.2 15.5 3.2 20 35.5s
Kodak ESP 5 $199 Inkjet 13.3 3 13.3 3 38s 2m 12s

Our print speed tests show that the Stylus TX550W inkjet multifunction is fast when printing monochrome documents, and even faster when printing colour. The raw speeds don't tell the whole story, though, as the multifunction produces poor quality documents in draft mode. It is also particularly loud. A "quiet mode" in the settings ensures the printer treats paper more carefully and reduces noise levels slightly, though it slows normal quality print times to 10.2 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome and 6.5ppm for colour documents.

Document print quality is quite good. Though our printouts had an "inky" look to them, characters were accurate and there were no aberrations or ink splotches which can often result from cheaper models. Colours in documents can be somewhat inaccurate and undersaturated, but they mix with text well.

Unfortunately, images aren't quite as pretty. Both black and colour levels appear undersaturated and lack vibrancy, while there is a deal of background noise across all of our results. This isn't as noticeable on 4x6in prints as on A4 media, making the smaller format the better choice when printing photos from this inkjet multifunction.

Consumables for the Stylus TX550W are spectacularly cheap, providing a running cost of 12.6c per A4 page.

The multifunction can scan to USB and network-connected PCs, as well as to e-mail applications or a PDF file. Unfortunately, it won't scan to memory cards or flash drives, so you will always need a computer.

The Stylus TX550W inkjet multifunction's connectivity and low running costs make it a good purchase overall. Its ability to produce clean documents is also a boon when printing homework, but its noisy photos are disappointing.

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