26 Şubat 2008 Salı

Epson Stylus DX7000F - review and cartridge choice

Print, scan and fax with a single inkjet-based machine. The DX7000F scans well but makes slow prints, scans and copies, and has no ADF for fax and is commonly available for a little over £100.

Although it's fairly common for mono laser multifunction devices, or MFDs, such as OKI's B2540 MFP to send and receive faxes, this feature is rarely found on an inkjet model. Epson's Stylus DX7000F has a built-in fax modem, but is otherwise a fairly typical inkjet MFD.

The DX7000F uses four separate ink cartridges with the black T0711 containing 7.4ml of ink and the three colour cartridges T0712, 713 & 714 containing 5.5ml each. These cartridges have been used in previous Epson models and are readily available from Epson direct, your local retailer or from an online discounter like Cartcon.

Further savings can be made by purchasing the Epson Multipack, T0715 or by using compatible cartridges from a reliable third party manufacturer.

Epson's setup program adds drivers for the print and scan functions, and offers a range of optional software such as Creativity Suite, which allows very basic photo editing. We found it simple to get the MFD up and running.

Epson's print driver offers a choice of five quality settings, but none of them produced particularly clean black text on plain paper. The printer's Draft setting produced faint, striped characters, so we ran our 50-page draft test using Text mode, which was slow. The colours in graphics on plain paper were solid and streak-free using the Text & Image setting, but also dull and under-saturated. Colours in photos seemed a little warmer, but skin tones were a little too cool for a flattering portrait shot.

Fortunately, the DX7000F's scanner was more impressive. It captured sharply focused images, recording plenty of detail from both very light and very dark areas. Colours were accurate, too, but it was slow at high resolutions. Our 1,200dpi (dots per inch) test scan of a 6x4-inch photograph took over three minutes, two or three times longer than we'd expect.

The DX7000F doesn't have an automatic document feeder (ADF), so you have to load each page of a long fax and make copies one page at a time. This is a pain, and makes the DX7000F an unconvincing fax device, particularly when you could buy other MFD’s which include this function.

Overall this machine does some things well but other functions perform well below the level one would expect from a major manufacturer and with many other devices from other well known brands available at below this price level, the Dx7000F is probably best avoided.

Alan Wilson has over 10 years experience in the imaging industry and is currently a director of Cartridge Concept.

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