Epson Stylus NX515
Tuesday, October 6, 2009; 12:19 AM
Epson's Stylus NX515 color inkjet multifunction printer (MFP) is well priced for the home or student user ($130 at this writing). Speed and a few notable features help it stand out, despite its high ink costs and other shortcomings.
The Stylus NX515 is one of the fastest inkjet multifunctions we've tested to date. It printed plain, black text at a rate of 18.4 pages per minute (ppm), and graphics as quickly as 5.1 ppm. (Epson's claim of up to 36 ppm ignores the initial processing time required by every print job.)
The print quality was almost as good as the speed. On plain paper, text samples were a little fuzzy, while graphics looked grainy and sometimes yellowish. On Epson's own photo paper, textures improved, but we noticed an overall pinkish cast and some dullness to the colors.
Of the built-in features, we liked the connectivity and the control-panel design best. You get Wi-Fi connectivity along with USB and ethernet. Media slots can take CF, MS, SD, and xD cards; you also get a PictBridge port. The 2.5-inch color LCD is tiltable. Its accompanying buttons are logically laid out, with both icons and word labels.
The paper trays are adequate for light use. The single, rear vertical input tray takes a mere 100 sheets maximum, but it can feed up to 8.5-by-44-inch banner paper. The output tray holds just 30 sheets, and both trays feel rattly and flimsy. Duplexing is manual only, and the device lacks an automatic document feeder.
Epson's documentation could be more helpful. The full user guide is available only online, and is downloadable only in small sections. It contains a decent amount of how-to instruction, but basics such as a diagram of the control panel are nowhere to be found.
The ink costs are high, unfortunately. The standard-size, 245-page black cartridge costs $17, or a whopping 6.9 cents per page, while each 340-page color cartridge costs $12.34, or 3.6 cents per page. A page with all four colors would cost a steep 17.8 cents. The high-yield versions include a 410-page black cartridge that costs $20, or a reasonable 4.9 cents per page. Each 525-page color cartridge costs $17, or 3.2 cents per page. A page with all four colors would cost 14.6 cents.
Epson's Stylus NX515 has more speed than most consumer-oriented MFPs, and much of its design is good. But the ink prices are higher than we'd like.
For other choices, see our chart of Top 10 Inkjet Multifunction Printers.
--Melissa Riofrio and Susan Silvius