Epson Stylus Photo PX820FWD: Performance

Considering that the PX820FW uses exactly the same range of Claria inks that we've seen on many Epson A4 printers over the last couple of years, colour rendition came as quite a shock. Indeed, colour was so inaccurate that we double-checked that all the cartridges were in their correct slots. Reds in particular were way off the mark, with pure bright red looking more like a murky maroon.

In the end, we updated the printer driver that was supplied on Epson's installation CD, replacing it with the latest edition that's available online, and this made a huge difference. Even so, reds in our test chart were still noticeably darker than expected.

Fine lines and challenging diagonals and concentric circles from our test chart were faithfully reproduced and each of the blocks in the greyscale bar were clearly distinguishable. Landscape images looked their best in the printer's Vivid colour mode, or when using the automatic Photo Enhance option, both of which gave punchier (and practically identical) results.

Skin tones using the standard colour option were a little muddy, but a touch warmer than on many Epson printers, whereas the Photo Enhance 'People' option brightened up flesh tones to give more pleasing results.

Scanning proved accurate in our tests, with good tonal range and colour rendition. There was also none of the streakiness of lines running across scans, which we suffered with the PX660.