Epson Stylus Photo RX640 review
The Stylus Photo RX640 isn’t just Epson’s latest all-in-one, it’s also the most expensive machine on test. Fortunately, it’s full of features. In the box, you’ll find a set of six cartridges, and once you’ve bought a USB cable you can slot it into the grooves inside the unit to keep it firmly in place.
You’ll also find a CD/DVD printing tray, so you can flip the output tray upwards and slide it in to create a photo-quality label on a printable disc in two-and-a-half minutes. Finally, there’s a transparency adaptor stored within the scanner’s lid for scanning filmstrips and slides using the supplied Epson Scan software and drivers. We scanned a row of four negatives in five-and-a-half minutes and were presented with four perfectly cropped images with reasonable detail levels. The colour accuracy was superb, so if you have a lot of negatives to digitise this is a slightly better choice than the HP 3210.
When we reviewed the RX620 a year ago, we were impressed with its photo printing but not its text quality. This seems to have been addressed: text is now more than acceptable, if painfully slow, at 2.7ppm at Normal quality. Photo quality is still impressive, particularly in our 6 x 4in borderless print tests. You can print directly from any type of memory card using the 2.5in TFT screen.
But the RX620’s main appeal was the fast CCD scanner, and the RX640 continues this trend. A 300ppi 6 x 4in scan completed in just ten seconds and the 10 x 8in 600ppi image took just 31 seconds – nine seconds faster than the next fastest, the HP 3210.
The quality is superb too, with only the 3210 scoring higher overall. Some pictures lacked detail, but colours were accurate, especially in our most demanding test, the 1,200ppi skin-tones image. This leads to high-quality copies of photos, although we had to wait almost seven minutes for them.
All six ink tanks are available in a Value pack for £36.27, equating to only 28p per 6 x 4in photo when printing continuously. In our intermittent testing, this increased to 40p, which isn’t as cheap.
When the RX640 itself costs £171, the HP 3210 is better value overall, although the quality and speed of the Epson’s scanner and copier make up for this. However, the slow print speed pushes it further behind the 3210. The CD printing and transparency scanning could still make it one for your shortlist, though.