Epson Stylus Photo R285 review

Price when reviewed

The Epson Stylus Photo R285 is one of the bulkiest printers in this month’s Labs, but it’s anybody’s guess why. It doesn’t take outsized paper, nor does it have a particularly capacious sheet feeder. It doesn’t even have a duplex unit, while the Canon Pixma iP4500 manages to squeeze one into a smaller frame – for an almost identical price.

Epson Stylus Photo R285 review

Nor is it fast: in our standard-quality print tests it came last, averaging just 4ppm. Photo printing was laggardly too, with only the Lexmark taking longer to produce our 10 x 15in print and A4 photomontage. The HP Photosmart was an incredible five times quicker.

It did do well in one test. In draft mode it averaged 17.5ppm, beaten only by the HP Officejet Pro K5400n. But, that only redeems the R285 if you do the majority of your printing in draft mode. And with this printer we wouldn’t recommend that, as print quality in draft mode was hands down the worst we’ve seen. Black text came out a muddy brown and letters were crudely and inaccurately rendered, impeding readability.

Quality results in our other tests were, thankfully, better, but the R285 still struggled to compete with HP and Canon. Standard quality text came out dark grey, and letter forms were inconsistent, with smearing clearly visible. Colour printing on plain paper was bright, but solid colours were filled with tiny speckles.

As you’d expect, the Stylus Photo R285’s strongest performance by far was in the photographic tests. Colours were vibrant, gradients smooth and dark areas had a real solidity to them that was lacking from the Canons’ efforts.

Another plus: the Epson is reasonably cheap to run. The R285 takes six cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, plus light magenta and light cyan), and we were able to print 100 photos before they started running out. They don’t cost much to replace – under a fiver each, exc VAT – but there’s a lot of them, bringing the overall cost up to 19p per photo. Not bad, but higher than the Canon Pixma iP4500’s 13p.

All told, it’s hard to recommend the Epson Stylus Photo R285. Its only strong suit is photo output, and that’s neither fast nor compellingly economical.

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 5760 x 1440dpi
Ink-drop size 1.5pl
Integrated TFT screen? no
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Running costs

Inkjet technology Piezo-electric
Ink type Dye-based

Power and noise

Peak noise level 36.0dB(A)
Dimensions 450 x 282 x 187mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 12W
Idle power consumption 1W

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 1min 52s
Mono print speed (measured) 5ppm
Colour print speed 2ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? yes
Input tray capacity 120 sheets


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

Flash media

SD card reader no
Compact Flash reader no
Memory Stick reader no
xD-card reader no
USB flash drive support? no

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? no
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? yes
Other operating system support Mac OS X 10.2.8 and above
Software supplied Creativity Suite, Web-To-Page, Easy Photo Print, Print CD

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