Stylus Photo R320
The Stylus Photo R320 is an update to the R300 photo printer, and the key benefit it adds is a colour LCD screen for previewing images from memory cards. But the way this screen has been added is slightly peculiar. The larger mono LCD screen remains, and is used to navigate menu options, while the smaller, colour screen has been bolted on above this.
The result is a rather awkward design, and we wonder whether Epson might have been better served simply opting for a single, larger colour LCD for menu navigation and image previews.
Physically, the R320 has a lot in common with older designs of Epson printers in that it’s bulky and boxy. It’s designed as a photo printer so it has the standard photo printer features such as memory card slots and a PictBridge port and six colour inks in individual tanks for more economical running costs. It also supports direct USB printing and Bluetooth with an optional adaptor.
It comes with Epson’s standard large array of imaging software, none of which is of much interest to anyone who uses iPhoto. While the print driver offers a high degree of control over colour settings and image quality.
Although this printer is designed to output photos, we still tested text printing as unless you have two printers you may still want to use it for this. It managed 1.9ppm, which isn’t fast, but it’s not bad considering this isn’t a text printer. Quality is pretty good on plain paper, as is common with Epson printers the ink tends to run a little, but its much better than on other models we’ve tested. Draft mode pushes speed up to 10ppm but the output quality is very rough.
What the Photo R320 lacks in text printing prowess it more than makes up for in the photo arena. It prints an A4 photo in a speedy 5 minutes 16 seconds and as is customary with recent Epson photo printers the output quality is outstanding. Like the PictureMate 500 tested for the August issue its impossible to fault. Images are clear and sharp with near perfect colour accuracy all but impossible to tell apart from a photographic print.
A 6x4 in photo took just two minutes to print for the same outstanding print quality. The R320 also comes with an attachment for printing CD media.
In the Stylus Photo R320 Epson has done what it does best; created a top-quality photo printer. We simply can’t fault picture quality. But we were disappointed by the method chosen to add on the colour LCD screen for previews, if this had been better executed this printer would have scored more highly.