Epson Stylus Photo R265 review

Price when reviewed

The Epson Stylus Photo R265 shares the same print engine as its dearer cousin, the R360, which at first glance seems to make it a bargain. It costs just £44, yet has the advantage of a full complement of six ink tanks. Unfortunately, the reality isn’t quite so rosy.

Epson Stylus Photo R265 review

For a start, the number of tanks in the R265 makes replacing the ink expensive. And, like several other printers, we found a vast discrepancy in the printing capacities of the tanks: the light cyan and light magenta tanks ran dry after just 60 prints, with the yellow lasting just 21 more. By contrast, the magenta tank printed more than a hundred, and the cyan closer to 200 prints.

This makes Epson’s six-ink multipack less appealing than it initially looks, since you’ll find yourself replacing both the light cyan and light magenta tanks three times for every cyan. As a result of this, we haven’t used the multipack in our calculations, and buying tanks separately leads to a sky-high running cost of 52p per 6 x 4in print. Even if you insist on buying the multipack, it only brings the figure down by a few pence.

This could be forgiven if the print quality was excellent, but the Epson falls behind the HP and Canon printers. Our test photos revealed contrast problems, with detail lost in dark areas and bright parts cranked up: the pink flowers appeared almost fluorescent, such was the oversaturation. Also, our mono print had far too much cyan on show, making it look blue. This cold tone may appeal to some photographers, but we preferred the more neutral tones of the Canons.

Things weren’t any better on the document tests: text showed feathering, while the colours in our ISO document weren’t particularly accurate. Rather than a lighter black, the R265’s draft output is light brown and the text is disjointed.

These criticisms may sound a little harsh, as the R265 is streets ahead of the Lexmark and Dell, and all of the prints look acceptable when viewed on their own. Plus, it has a few nice touches for a sub-£50 printer, such as the direct CD and DVD printing tray, the PictBridge port and the repair-or-replace warranty. There’s a problem, though: the Canon Pixma iP3300 costs £5 less and offers far better text printing, leaving the R265 out of the running for an award.

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