While in some cases a multifunction printer simply means combining a printer with scanner and maybe copying facilities too, some MFDs cover a fuller range of features. And some, such as the Epson Stylus PX800FW, go even further, adding touches we haven't even seen before.
Plenty of this novelty emanates from the drop-down 7.8in touch-sensitive LCD panel, a feature likely to become the must-have feature of the future. It's surprising what a difference this makes, and previously fiddly tasks (adjusting paper size and type, arranging pictures, etc) become a cinch. And with increased ease of use, Epson has packed the menu with many intriguing extras.
From the online help to the gimmicky ‘Colouring book' feature, and the rather more useful array of templates (allowing you to print various types of lined paper), the Epson Stylus PX800FW is stuffed with increased functionality.
The Epson Stylus PX800FW has a dedicated CD/DVD tray that makes it easy to print images onto discs. A 30-page ADF is built in, and the standard paper input takes 120 sheets. The paper tray itself is slightly awkward to load, but it does feel robust. And the upper half can take photo paper, making it easy to move. Connectivity is taken care of by multi-card reader, ethernet and wireless Wi-Fi capabilities.
Fax facilities are provided, and not only does the Epson Stylus PX800FW's scanning component produce strong and faithful scans, but the bundled ABBYY OCR software is good for converting text to a digital format. About the only feature missing from this MFD is auto duplexing, but you can even buy this as an option.
While the Epson Stylus PX800FW doesn't produce poor prints, its colour graphics are a little light, and images seem slightly mist-shrouded.
Premium paper helps, and results with Epson's photographic paper are pretty good, if not awe-inspiring. it's a shame as the Epson Stylus PX800FW is very good on speed, producing draft-quality colour pages at 12ppm, medium-quality at 6ppm and full photo quality at 1.7ppm.
The Epson Stylus PX800FW is blistering on text, ripping through the lightest mode at 16.2ppm. You wouldn't want to settle for the feint text offered, but the middle mode offers a respectable 7.7ppm. Even in the top mode, the text output isn't quite as dark and crisp as we might want.
You can't get much more fully featured than the Epson Stylus PX800FW. Unfortunately, its multifunctionality comes at the expense of quality, and in an MFD costing nearly £300, you have a right to expect that prints should be stunning. If you can put up with image quality that falls short of excellent, the rest of this package should enthrall.