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Epson BX305FW review

Epson sets out to handle all your small office printing chores with the BX305FW

For

  • Robust, smudge-resistant printing on plain paper
  • Simple to use, especially for standalone photocopying and faxing
  • It can fax documents directly from your computer, without having to print them out first
  • Photo output on plain paper looks better than with some photo printers
  • Wi-Fi certification means you can print from your laptop anywhere around the home or office

Against

  • The single input tray makes for too much swapping between plain, letter-headed and photo paper
  • Lack of auto duplex facility is missing a trick, since the resin-based inks are ideal for double-sided output
  • No memory card readers or USB socket for printing direct from a USB flash drive
  • Very slow for photo printing, especially in top quality mode
  • Expensive to run, even when fitted with Epson's high-yield print cartridges

Inkjet printers have a sloppy reputation for business printing. Run a highlighter pen over an important phrase of text and you're likely to end up with a smudgy mess. A few raindrops can make ink-printed envelopes almost unintelligible.

Colour laser printers make a viable alternative but they tend to be big, heavy and expensive, so what's the answer?

Epson bridges the gap between regular inkjet and laser printing with its resin-based DURABrite Ultra inks, which are practically dry by the time they hit the paper and are remarkably resistant to water, smudging and fading.

As an all-in-one printer for the small or home office, the BX305FW has a wide range of business-like features. In standalone mode, it can handle mono or colour photocopying at the touch of a button but, unlike most multi-function printers, it adds faxing to its repertoire.

Better still, scanning, photocopying and faxing all benefit from a 30-sheet ADF (Auto Document Feeder) to make light of multi-sheet documents. There's also a neat row of assignable speed-dial buttons for up to five phone numbers.

You don't need to be tied to the printer either, because the Epson is fully Wi-Fi certified in addition to carrying a standard USB 2.0 port. Another neat touch is that you can fire off faxes through the BX305FW direct from your computer, without having to print hard copies of your documents first.

While the on-board control interface is fairly neat and tidy, using the Epson isn't all plain sailing. There's only a single, rear-mounted paper input tray, which sits vertically and can accommodate around 100 sheets of standard 80gsm paper.

This means that if you want to print on headed paper or envelopes, you have to swap the paper around every time, and the same goes for photo printing. The dual paper input system on most Canon printers like the MG5150 makes life much easier.

Another disappointment is that there's no USB port for direct document printing from flash drives, and there are no memory card readers either. An auto-duplex facility would have been nice too, since the instantly dry resin-based inks are perfect for double-sided printing, but sadly you have to turn each sheet over manually.

Print speeds are a bit sluggish for document printing, taking 14 seconds for a mono text page and 58 seconds for a mixed text and colour graphics DTP page in our tests.

On the plus side, the printer doesn't have to wait for pages to dry when outputting multi-sheet documents, which speeds things up in real terms.

Photo printing is very slow, taking two minutes and 21 seconds for a 6 x 4-inch print in standard photo quality mode and over 12 minutes for an A4 photo print at the highest quality setting.

As a four-ink printer, photo quality is compromised but even considering the lack of colour space, it's especially poor on glossy photo paper, although quite acceptable on plain paper.

Running costs are steep when using the standard yield (Fox) cartridges that come with the printer, at around 3.7p per mono page and 14.5p for colour.

Using high-yield (Apple) cartridges reduces this to 3.2p for mono and 10.3p for colour, but that's still pricey and the page yield is only about the same as you'd expect from Canon's regular cartridges fitted to the likes of the MP640 and MG5150.

Tech Specs

Product TypeInkjet Multifunction Printer
Maximum Photo Print Speed72 Second
Green CompliantYes
Wireless LANYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Standard Input Media Capacity120 sheets
USBYes
Maximum Mono Print Speed (ppm)34
Maximum Color Print Speed (ppm)15
Maximum Mono Copy Speed (cpm)34
Maximum Color Copy Speed (cpm)15
Product FamilyStylus Office
Maximum Print Resolution5760 x 1440 dpi
Brand NameEpson
Form FactorDesktop
Print ColourColour
Duplex PrintingManual
Media SizeA4, A5, A6, Letter, Legal, DL Envelope, B5, C6 Envelope, Envelope No. 10, A4 - 210 mm x 297 mm, A5 - 148 mm x 210 mm, A6 - 105 mm x 148 mm, Letter - 216 mm x 279 mm, Legal - 216 mm x 356 mm, DL Envelope - 110 mm x 220 mm, B5 - 176 mm x 250 mm, C6 Envelope - 114 mm x 162 mm, 130 mm x 180 mm, 100 mm x 150 mm, 90 mm x 130 mm, 200 mm x 250 mm, 130 mm x 200 mm
Multifunction DevicesCopier/Fax/Printer/Scanner
Recommended UsePhoto Print
Maximum Fax Resolution200 x 200 dpi
Optical Resolution1200 dpi
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
Copy ColorColour
Scan ColorColour
Fax ColorColour
Maximum Copy Resolution5760 x 1440 dpi
Number of Input/Multipurpose Trays Installed1
Number of Input Trays Supported1
Maximum Input Media Capacity120 sheets
Country of OriginIndonesia
Height235 mm
Width460 mm
Depth411 mm
Media TypePlain Paper, Envelope, Glossy Paper, Photo Paper, Premium Paper
Copier TypeFlatbed
ManufacturerEpson Corporation
Product ModelBX305FW
Product NameStylus Office BX305FW Multifunction Printer
Product LineStylus Office
Scanner TypeFlatbed
Modem Speed33.60 Kbps
Image SensorCIS
Manufacturer Part NumberC11CB08301
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.epson.co.uk
Marketing Information

Lose the wires and bring the convenience of high-speed Wi-Fi to your office with this business all-in-one. Perfect for scanning, copying and faxing large reports and presentations, it makes light work of processing multi-page documents with its automatic document feeder.

Platform SupportedMac, PC
Package Contents
  • Stylus Office BX305W Multifunction Printer
  • 1 x Black Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Cyan Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Magenta Ink Cartridge
  • 1 x Yellow Ink Cartridge
  • Software CD
  • Basic Operations Guide
  • Start Here Guide
  • Control Panel Icon Sticker
  • Warranty Document
  • Power Cable
  • Wi-Fi Setup Guide
  • Phone Cable
Limited Warranty1 Year
Standard Memory32 MB
Transmission Speed3 sec/page
Weight (Approximate)7.10 kg