Epson Stylus Photo PX820FWD: Handling and printing times

Handling is refined, thanks to a particularly intuitive 'smart-navigation' touch-panel. This goes one better than the control panel on the PX660 because, as well as touch-sensitive icons that only illuminate and become visible when they have an active role to play, the colour LCD at the centre of the panel is also a touch-screen in its own right.

Suffice it to say that standalone photocopying, faxing (complete with 60 speed-dial memory locations) and direct photo printing from CompactFlash, MS Pro, SD or xD cards is as simple as can be. The ADF also makes for simple faxing or photocopying of multi-page documents, although you can still bypass this and place photos for scanning or copying directly onto the scanner's platen.

Print speeds are respectable rather than dazzling, at least in Best quality mode. In our tests, the PX820FWD averaged 2 minutes 54 seconds for borderless A4 prints and 58 seconds per 6x4-inch print. However, the first postcard sized print takes a little longer, as the motorised tray needs to engage before printing can commence. Printing is a lot quicker in normal Photo quality mode, at 1 minute 3 seconds for A4 and 15 seconds per 6x4-inch print.

There's practically no perceptible difference in quality between Photo and Best modes, although on a very few prints we saw very marginally more detail in extreme lowlights using the highest quality mode.

Scan times are pretty quick, at 15 seconds for a full A4 scan and 7 seconds for a 6x4-inch photo, both measured at 300dpi.