Photo answers review
Photo answers rating
The first thing you’ll notice is the weight. At 13kg it’s actually a few kilos heavier than a separate printer and scanner and it's hardly what you’d call ‘compact’. But, you’ll forgive its dominant presence the moment you power-up. It looks the business. Blue winking lights, swivel screen, glossy-plastic finish and confident mechanical whirs from within...
Starting with its built-in inkjet printer, the PX800FW boasts better-than-lab-quality prints up to A4. Gladly, we can verify that its six-ink Claria system delivers excellent results. Sure, it’s not the best in Epson’s line-up but it’s a class above most. The ink tanks are separate, so you need only replace those that run out. Plus, there’s a dedicated paper tray for smaller photo papers too – printing borderless 6x4in snaps is far less tedious and stressful than it used to be.
The scanner, however, is not quite as impressive. Using a compact CIS design (Contact Image Sensor) rather than the usual CCD design found in other Epson scanners, it’s only good for digitising totally flat objects. Depth-of-field is so shallow even lightly crumpled paper causes problems – especially at resolutions higher than 600ppi. There’s no transparency mode either. With documents and prints, though, it’s tack-sharp, up to around 1200dpi.
Build-quality is superb. It’s easily tough enough to withstand use in a small office. It also has a built-in fax machine (if you still use fax) and can be used as a photo-quality photocopier. These features can be accessed directly through the swivelling touch-screen, and this is where the PX800FW really excels. Plugged into the computer, it handles like any other printer or scanner. Used as a stand-alone unit, it really starts to come alive.
An integrated card reader makes it easy to print JPEGs (not RAWs) straight from the camera, but be prepared to waste a bit of ink and paper working out what all the options do. If you’re hoping the wireless facility will make your tangle of cables redundant, think again. This feature is designed for existing wireless networks – a language that’s only understood by networking wizards. If you’ve got one printer and one computer, get the Bluetooth adaptor instead.
Overall, this is seriously impressive kit with amazing build-quality. However, for photographers the scanner is not really good enough for creative work. It costs about the same price as a decent scanner and similar printer. For technophobes, it’s a joy to use without a PC but is still pretty confusing. It isn’t the cheapest way to run off prints either. However, if you run an office and need a first-class photocopier with wireless connectivity, then go for it. It’s quiet, fast, energy-efficient and great value!Product information
Scanner resolution 4800x4800ppi
Ink system 6-ink Claria: black, yellow, cyan, magenta, light magenta, light cyan
Printer resolution 5760x1440dpi
LCD monitor 3.5in
Memory slots CF, Memory stick, SDHC, xD (others supported)
Connections Wireless Lan, USB 2.0, Ethernet, Windows 2000
Operating system Windows XP/Vista; Mac OS 10.3.9 or later
Size (wxhxd)/weight 550x250x501mm 13kg