The quality of budget digital cameras has advanced massively over the last couple of years and, if you're after a printer that can provide equally high quality in photo output, with a similarly budget-conscious price tag, the R200 is for you.
Unlike most of its rivals, the Epson uses a full-time, six-ink system, tailored to give you the best possible colour rendition for photo printing.
The trade-off you have to accept when you buy a device which specialises in photo printing is that mono and general purpose printing tends to be slow.
Sure enough, the R200's mono output is slightly on the grey side, rather than rich black, but font edges are well defined and pages are perfectly readable. There's no denying it's a bit on the slow side, taking 27 seconds to print our A4 mono text page in normal quality mode but it's surprisingly cheap to run in mono, working out at just 2p per page. It's also surprisingly fast for colour DTP work, beating most of the 'general purpose' printers around by a significant margin.
As you'd expect, photo printing is what the R200 does best, and using Epson's own glossy photo paper our test results were superb. The printer managed to recreate both bold, vivid colours and flesh tones in photos. Having said that, however, results were only marginally better than from Canon's iP4000 printer, which is also faster.
While the running costs of 2p per mono print are cheap, colour printing works out more expensive, at around 10p per A4 page. In practice, however, the fact that all six ink cartridges are individually replaceable should save you money on ink you don't throw away, compared with printers like the Canon iP2000, Lexmark and all the HP printers. Matthew Richards