If you've got a busy home office to run, Epson is targeting you with its Stylus Office BX935FWD.
Priced at around £175, it's a multi-function inkjet model that offers printing, scanning, copying and faxing features. It also includes extras such as twin paper trays and duplex support.
The BX935FWD may be aimed primarily at home office users, but that hasn't stopped Epson from giving it a glossy, consumer-style finish. It's quite a large model, standing at 300mm high and 446mm wide, so it's not exactly easy to hide away.
Epson has added a large 8.9cm touchscreen to a flip-up panel on the front. This is surrounded by extra touch buttons. The screen isn't as vivid as those on the likes of the Lexmark Interact S605, but the large array of touch controls makes this model easy to set up and use, even if some of the menu pages look overly busy.
Beneath the screen are two full-sized cassette-style paper trays that can hold up to 250 sheets each. As such, this model has a massive print capacity when fully loaded. Printed sheets are fed out into a slightly flimsy telescopic tray situated just above the top paper input tray.
The front of the printer is home to a multi-format card reader that works with CF cards as well as the usual SD and memory stick cards. Beneath this is a USB port for direct printing from USB keys and hard drives.
This model has Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB on board, so you've got the broadest possible array of connection options -- you can choose between them while installing the driver software.
Once that's completed, it's simply a matter of plugging the ink cartridges into a bay that's accessible by lifting the scanner unit. You should be up and running within a couple of minutes.
Scanning and copying
The flatbed scanner at the top includes an automatic document feeder and duplexer. It can be used not only to copy and fax multi-page documents, but also for automatic copying or faxing of doubled-sided sheets. The scanner is reasonably quick. Scans retain strong colour and more than enough detail for business use.
It's fast at photocopying too. Our single black and white test page took 16 seconds to copy, whereas competitors like the HP Officejet 7500A took 21 seconds to complete the same job. Copy quality was pretty average -- a fair amount of detail in the images on our test sheet was lost.
Print speed, quality and cost
When it comes to print speed for documents, this model is a star performer. It blitzed our 10-page text document test in just 48 seconds. The printer was fast for duplex printing as it completed five double-sided pages of the same document in just 1 minute and 24 seconds. Switching to graphics output doesn't slow it down by much either.
The BX935FWD was one of the fastest multi-function inkjet models we've tested when it came to printing our business presentation. It took a mere 1 minute and 53 seconds to produce the document.
It was also speedy with our graphics test document, taking a sprightly 2 minutes and 39 seconds. However, when it comes to photo printing, speed tails off considerably. Producing our 4x6-inch snap took 1 minute and 14 seconds, whereas the best photo printers manage the same job in about half that time.
Printing quality is not up there with the very best models we've seen but it's not too bad. Text looks dark on the page but there's feathering visible around the edges of some letters. There was also slight banding evident in blocks of colours on our business presentation. Colours weren't as strong as on some business inkjet models we've seen.
As this printer is aimed at those with busier home offices, its print costs need to be very competitive if it's to appeal to this target market. Thankfully it turns out to be a relatively economical machine to run. Four separate cartridges are used for black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
Print costs for a black and white page work out at a very competitive 2.3p. Colour printing costs are higher, but at 5.5p per page, they're about average for a business-focused inkjet model.
The Epson Stylus Office BX935FWD certainly doesn't provide the last word in print quality.
However, its excellent print speeds, great range of features and modest running costs still make it a worthy choice for home office users with demanding print needs.