Epson Stylus DX4800 review

Price when reviewed

There’s little difference in price between all five budget models here, yet the variation in quality is markedly wider. The Epson Stylus DX4800 is one of the better choices, with several factors working in its favour.

Epson Stylus DX4800 review

The most notable is the value of its consumables: the four separate ink tanks are available in a Value pack for just £15.94. With other models costing up to £60 for a full set of inks, the DX4800 won’t put such a dent in your wallet. As you can see on p115, this gives a cost per 6 x 4in print of 21p, although this will increase when printing irregularly.

The quality of photos is also impressive. Our A4 photomontage and 6 x 4in photos showed lifelike colours and were among the best overall. Only slight banding and a small amount of grain prevented higher scores.

Unfortunately, taking almost three-and-a-half minutes to print a 6 x 4in photo, the DX4800 is the slowest printer this month. It also took more than a minute-and-a-half longer than any other to print our A4 photomontage. A speed of 3.5ppm in Normal mode is poor for text, but 12.5ppm in Draft is better. Sadly, the quality of text in both modes isn’t a patch on the Canon MP170’s.

However, the Epson Stylus DX4800 has a trick up its sleeve: a CCD scanner. While many others use the lesser CIS technology, it uses a cold cathode lamp to light reflective originals. The highlight was the 1,200ppi skin-tone scan, which had exquisite detail.

This scanning ability didn’t translate into perfect copies, with slight discolouration in our photo test, but at less than five minutes for three 6 x 4in copies this can be forgiven. Alas, text copies appeared at just 2ppm and the quality of Draft copies is too poor for the time saving to be worth it. Also, the scanner had difficulty detecting the size of the source image.

Plus, despite the comprehensive media card reader, the DX4800 isn’t the simplest printer to use. As there’s only a single-digit LCD, you’ll need to read the manual to perform certain actions; holding Stop and Print together changes to Draft mode, for example. The drivers are simple, though, so operating via a PC is a better option.

Overall, the Epson Stylus DX4800 offers good value for money, mainly because it’s economical to run. It’s a viable photo alternative to the Canon MP170, but with better quality and speed the Pixma is still our recommendation.

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