Epson Stylus NX625

The Epson Stylus NX625 colour inkjet multifunction (print, scan, and copy) brings no-nonsense design, speed, and generally good output to your home office. Its price of $150 (as of December 20, 2010) is economical. It compares favorably with the HP‘s (NYSE: HPQ) Photosmart e-All-in-One, which costs less but has pricier inks. However, it can’t quite compete with the Canon Pixma MG5220, which is slower but more well-rounded otherwise.

The Stylus NX625 installed easily via Wi-Fi through the on-printer network configuration utility. USB and Ethernet connectivity are also available. The control panel is nicely laid out and easy to use, and the 2.5-inch colour LCD makes advanced tasks a breeze. Our only minor complaint is that you must choose between monochrome and colour copying using the LCD and cursor buttons; we’d prefer separate buttons for those tasks.

Bundled software includes Easy Photo Print for home photo projects, and the Epson Scan utility for scanning chores initiated from the PC. The latter includes the ability to select a user profile that tailors the scanning options accordingly: Home users will see fewer options, while professional users will see more. Note that you must install the Epson Scan utility if you wish to scan wirelessly. One restriction surprised us: You can scan to a PC using the Stylus NX625’s control panel only if you’re connected via USB, though you may scan directly to an SD Card, XD-Picture Card, or Memory Stick inserted into one of the unit’s media slots.

The Stylus NX625 performed fairly well in our tests. It printed text very quickly, averaging 11.1 pages per minute on the PC and 9.3 ppm on the Mac. Also on the Mac, a four-page PDF achieved a peppy time of 1.6 ppm. Photo-print times were mediocre: Snapshot-size images printed on the PC managed 1.5 ppm, while a full-page colour photo printed on the Mac took 0.4 ppm. A simple one-page text copy sped out at 6.4 ppm. Scanning times were a little faster than average.

Print quality was adequate on plain paper. Text was dark and slightly soft around the edges. Colour images looked somewhat grainy and pink. Colour copies were also grainy, as well as a little dark, with minor banding. Colour images printed on Epson’s own photo paper appeared a touch pinkish but very smooth. Scans of colour images seemed a little muted but fairly smooth.

The paper-handling features on the Stylus NX625 are sufficient for a light-volume user. The unit has no automatic document feeder for feeding multiple pages through the letter-size scanner, but it does offer automatic duplexing for both the PC and Mac platforms. You feed paper via a 150-sheet cassette on the bottom of the MFP. Pages exit directly above it onto a tray that will hold approximately 50 sheets.

Ink costs for the Stylus NX625 are affordable–if you avoid the standard-size black. That costs $15.19 and delivers only 220 pages, which works out to a whopping 6.9 cents per page. In contrast, the $28.49, extra-high-yield black cartridge lasts for approximately 945 pages, a far better three cents per page. Colour costs are reasonable across the board: The $11.39, 320-page standard-size cartridges cost 3.6 cents per page, and the $18.04, 755-page extra-high-yield colours cost 2.4 cents per page. Stick with the high-yield supplies, and you wind up with a 10-cent four-colour page.

If your home-office scanning and copying needs are generally limited to single-page documents, you’ll find the Epson Stylus NX625 a well-rounded MFP with satisfactory output quality and ink costs. But we still wish that users could scan to a PC from the control panel.

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