Epson EPL-6200L review

Price when reviewed

The Epson EPL-6200L is one of the cheapest printers in this month’s round-up, and it shows. There’s no paper tray – only a fold-out multipurpose feed, whose 150-sheet capacity is the lowest of any monochrome laser on test. Printed pages emerge onto a moulded plastic flap that clips onto the output path. Plus, the user interface offers no buttons, just two LEDs.

If you’re looking at printers around this price, an emphasis on economy may seem no bad thing, but regrettably the savings don’t carry over to the running costs. The Epson is one of the most expensive monochrome lasers to run: its price per page was 70% higher than the £114 Brother and, despite the low purchase price, total cost of ownership over 50,000 pages ends up around 40% more than the Kyocera. Factor in the 1,500 page toner cartridge that Epson ships with the printer (meaning it won’t be long before you have to start buying replacements), and the whole deal starts to look dubious.

High running costs could be justified by great performance, but here again the Epson doesn’t measure up to the competition. In our standard speed tests, it averaged 20ppm – a comfortable rate for personal use, but still some way short of the 28ppm achieved by the Brother. The processing delay before printing starts is a drag too: from the moment we hit print, it took 13 seconds for the Epson to produce a one-page document from Word, versus 8 seconds with the Brother or the Canon.

In our quality tests, the Epson was on a par with the Canon LBP-3300. Text was excellent, even at tiny sizes, and blacks in general were impressively crisp and solid. Greyscale printing exposed a weak point: horizontal banding, which was clearly visible on every image we printed. Image quality was otherwise good thanks to the effective use of fine half-tones, and gradients were rendered effectively, but it was a shame to see the effect spoilt by banding. As it is, we can only recommend the Epson for draft graphical output.

The EPL-6200L may look, at first glance, like a good-value choice for a personal laser. But if you make regular use of it, you’ll find the cost savings quickly erode and you’ll be left with a printer of no particular distinction.

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