The all-in-one printer used to be an expensive item in any self-respecting home office, but with prices a-tumbling, the cheap and cheerful market is now the next stop for a device that can copy, scan or print your images. The DX4450 will set you back a penny under £60 and it’s currently being piled high in PC World. Lexmark have an all-in-one for £10 less, but then their ink is more expensive. Of course, you have to ask yourself, is the photo printing quality any good, does the scanner make a decent job of it and can it print out letters when I need to write to the relatives who don’t have the internet.
Epson Stylus DX4450 specifications:
- Printing method: 4-colour, Epson Micro Piezo print head
- Nozzle: 90 nozzles black, 29x3 colour (cyan, magenta, yellow)
- Droplet size: 4pl minimum using variable sized technology
- Inks: Epson DuraBrite Ultra
- Print resolution: up to 5760 x1440 optimised dpi
- Print speeds: Black text up to 25ppm, colour text up to 13ppm.
- Copy speeds: Black text A4, 4secs, colour text A4, 8secs.
- Scan resolution: 600x1200dpi
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Dimensions: 452x347x203mm
- Weight: 5kg excluding ink and power cable.
- Noise level: 47dB
Epson Stylus DX4450 Build quality
Now printers at the budget end of the market are usually made of cheap plastic and cellotape but the DX4450 actually looks quite nice, in an inexpensive way, with the black plastic and semi-transparent finish. There’s a sheet feeder for input of up to A4 and a built in extending tray to serve it up when it comes out. A control panel on the top left allows the copying function to be used without recourse to computer and the lid pops up to reveal the A4 flatbed scanner. The whole top comes up to allow access to the ink cartridges, of which there are four – black, magenta, cyan and yellow. This compares favourably with Lexmark’s rival offerings that use the prohibitively expensive black and all-colour cartridges. So, while not being industrial strength, the DX4450 shouldn’t fall apart during normal everyday use.
The familiar Epson printer driver
interface allowing paper size, type and
quality to be selected.
Epson Stylus DX4450 Modes and features
As it says on the tin, it uses Epson’s DuraBrite inks and can perform one-touch photocopying of text or colour documents, including photos. It can act as a scanner, reading images into your favourite photo editor, and it can print text or photos. The built-in control panel is very straightforward to use for photocopying, with options for colour and mono. Just press and off it goes.
The printer comes with a pile of software, such as Easy Photo Print, Creativity Suit, Copy Utility, and some OCR software if you fancy trying to turn printed text into computer documents. The printer driver interface is familiar allowing use of colour profiles or Epson colour optimisation or just printing using the black cartridge.
Epson Stylus DX4450 Performance
There are claimed speeds of up to 15 pages of black text per minute. Presumably this is a page with one paragraph of text on it. However, printing a letter is quite speedy, taking just a few seconds for a short one. The scanning is also quite nippy, not taking very long to convert my daughter’s set of magic playing cards into a digital image for re-printing. This was the first test in fact, and the results were quite good. Detail is very fine, colour is accurate to such a degree that it was very hard to tell the original cards from the scanned and printed ones. The one touch copying wasn’t quite as precise, but for photocopying jobs this will do a job here.
To test the photo printing credentials I threw an A4, 300dpi image with tons of colour at it. Off it went and laboriously printed the image out some 12minutes later. Now for A4, that’s slow. The detail was good as I suspected it might be, rendering fine hairs with some accuracy but there was a little banding in areas of continuous colour and the sheet feeder wasn’t quite straight. Not bad, but I wouldn’t be throwing away the dedicated photo printer just yet.
Epson Stylus DX4450 Verdict
The DX4450 is actually quite a nice addition to the home office or family setup. It’s perfectly capable of printing out holiday photos or scanning in artwork or kids projects for manipulation on the computer. The full scale A4 printing is a bit slow and not quite the standard of a dedicated photo printer, but considering the functionality and price, it’s certainly acceptable. The printing detail level is very good and my daughter happily went off with a new set of cards to go sell at school. The photocopying is okay, and the scanner itself can certainly pick up enough detail. The DX4450 also won’t break the bank when the inks need changing at around £7 a go. With dark good looks and plenty to offer at a bargain price this is one all-in buffet worth visiting.
Epson Stylus DX4450 Plus points:
Photo printer with 4-inks
Decent build quality
Plenty of detail in prints and scans
Epson Stylus DX4450 Minus points:
A little banding in solid areas of colour
Sheet feeder not quite accurate
Full on A4 photo printing quite slow
VALUE FOR MONEY:
The Epson DX4450 costs around £59.99 and is available from the Epson website or PC World.