Stylus Photo RX520 full review

We have reviewed quite a few Epson products over the past few months and, try as we might, have been unable to come up with more than a few passing criticisms of any of them. The Stylus Photo RX520 fails to buck this trend. Once again Epson has come up with a top-notch product that left us grasping for bad points.

The Stylus Photo RX520 is an all-in-one printer aimed at photo enthusiasts and to this end it includes memory card slots, a PictBridge port and even an adapter for scanning transparencies. In essence, the RX520 is the same printer as the Stylus Photo R240 (reviewed in February 2006 issue), but with a scanner bolted on. This means that it’s a very competent general-purpose printer, but particularly excels at photo output.

If we have any criticism it’s that the RX520 is far from the fastest printer around, churning out plain text pages at 2.4 pages per minute (ppm). A high-quality A4 photo takes just shy of two and a half minutes, while a 6 x 4in photo takes 80 seconds. It does work extremely quickly in economy mode, but the output is not suitable for anything other than rough drafts as it works by missing out alternate lines, making text barely legible.

Print quality is very good for all forms of output. Even text on plain paper, which is not usually Epson’s strong point, looks clear and sharp. As we’ve come to expect from Epson, photo quality on glossy paper is outstanding. And as with the Stylus Photo R240, it left us wondering about the need for the six or eight inks in some of Epson’s higher-end products, when this device’s output is so good using just four.

The RX520’s scanning functions are also excellent. Like the printer, the scanner isn’t particularly fast; a full A4 page at 300dpi takes 91 seconds. But the image quality is flawless with spot-on colour accuracy and professional-quality clarity. Our only complaint here is that when it’s used as a copier the image tends to be over saturated. However, you can have a much greater level of control over copying functions if you use the copy utility software, rather than just pressing the copy button on the control panel.

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