Printers have risen in quality and declined so much in price in recent years that it's easy to forget that a colour Apple StyleWriter used to cost several hundred pounds. Now, for just £90, you get six-ink photo printing.
The never-ending drive for manufacturers to reduce margins does have some cost, though; the build quality feels quite cheap, more so than many other Epson printers we've previously tested. As you'd expect, there is also no USB cable supplied.
Setting up the printer is fairly easy. After the usual de-stickering, you're commanded to simply slot the ink tanks in. That's it. We were also impressed at how short the time to prime the printheads was - a few seconds and it was ready.
The Epson software is easy to install and Universal (both PowerPC and Intel Mac- compatible). Just click the Easy Install button and follow the instructions. The Easy Photo Print software is also simple to use: just a few clicks to select your pictures and paper type and size. You're then ready to go. A CD printing tray is also included should you wish to label up your burned discs.
Each manufacturer strives to convince you that it's serious about photographic printing. Espon's last attempt, DURAbrite, was a success, so it has followed this up with another named ink, Claria. Needless to say, it's supposed to be even better than what has gone before - Epson is calling it 'hi-definition' printing.
We thought it printed vibrant colours extremely well, but it had a little problem with keeping images crisp at the edges. Unless the picture is pin-sharp, things can look slightly fuzzy.
This was especially the case with some of the images we printed of people on a sunny day. The clothes were vibrant but the overall effect of the shot was underwhelming. Black text is disappointing, too. As such, you may choose to spend a little more if you want truly excellent photo printing. Dan Grabham