Epson Stylus SX515W review

Price when reviewed

The problem that faces high-end home devices is standing out from the crowd. Most offer network options, media card readers and LCD screens, and while extra features could add to the value, Epson has opted for a different approach with the SX515W: raw speed.

Epson Stylus SX515W review

It spat draft prints into the output tray at 17.6ppm, and normal prints at 13.6ppm. Copies took just 22 seconds in mono and 25 seconds in colour, and its scan speeds were quicker than most other devices we’ve tested recently. This is an all-in-one for those in a hurry.

Those times don’t reveal the whole picture, though, as Epson confusingly offers two normal quality modes: Text, with which the speeds above were achieved, and Text & Image. In the former, the quality of diagrams and pictures isn’t quite as refined as the latter mode, which slows things down considerably. Side by side, we’d be happy choosing Text mode for all but the most graphics-heavy print jobs, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re the sort who prefers to err on the side of quality.

Photo quality was decent but unspectacular; Epson’s prints all have a washed out look to them that’s easy to spot next to the bold colours of rival Canon and HP printers. The detail is all there, but there’s no real punch to photos, and at this price that’s disappointing. Scan quality was similar – above average but without the detail or vibrancy of the best we’ve seen. That’s hardly unexpected given its tremendous speed, but it sums up this Epson to a tee: it’s a compromise between quality and pace.

As for the device itself, it’s well-designed and offers all the features you’d expect in the home. It can connect via USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi, has a 120-sheet input tray and uses four individual inks. They won’t last too long but are cheap to replace, and a 9p cost per A4 page is reasonable.

Operation is a pain, though, as the menu is difficult to navigate easily – we often found ourselves closing an option when we tried to select it – and most useful settings are in submenus. The placing on the main Copy screen of a borderless option but not quality settings is just baffling.

The SX515W is a mixed bag, then. If you like your prints fast and don’t mind losing a bit of quality in the process, it could be worth a look. But elsewhere it doesn’t quite have enough to challenge the best from HP and Canon.

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final5760 x 1440dpi
Ink-drop size2.0pl
Integrated TFT screen?yes
Rated/quoted print speed36PPM
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionno

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page2.8p
Cost per A4 colour page9.0p
Inkjet technologyPiezo-electric
Ink typeDye-based

Power and noise

Peak noise level55.0dB(A)
Dimensions450 x 342 x 182mm (WDH)

Copier Specification

Copier rated mono speed34cpm
Fax speedN/A
Fax page memoryN/A

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time2min 59s
A4 photo print time4min 33s
Mono print speed (measured)14ppm
Colour print speed2ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing?yes
CD/DVD printing?no
Input tray capacity120 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?yes
Bluetooth connection?no
WiFi connection?yes
PictBridge port?yes
Other connectionsNone

Flash media

SD card readeryes
Compact Flash readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
xD-card readerno
Other memory media supportMMC

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Other operating system supportN/A
Software suppliedEpson EasyPrintModule, ABBYY FineReader 6 Sprint Plus

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