By Justin Yu
The trays that feed paper into the printer are the main source of our gripe with the TX800FW. First, the plastic that Epson uses for the folding output tray is so thin that they bounce around at the slightest touch. We get that Epson wants to make the accessories collapsible to save space, but cutting corners on flimsy materials certainly throws speed bumps in the user experience. We can't comment precisely on how the trays will hold up to months or years of constant use, but even they already feel like they're about to snap in half.
In addition, you have to push the output tray all the way back into the device to pull out the input tray below it. The main paper tray holds 120 sheets of paper, and a separate, smaller tray for photo paper slides loosely across the top. Both trays suffer from serious design flaws: instead of designating fixed slots for the standard paper sizes (A4, Letter and so on), the main tray has a series of confusing notch marks with several markings of the same size. Epson makes it harder by forcing you to line up the tab with the notch marks, which takes time and precision since the tabs can move freely anywhere along the slider. If you're even slightly off, the printer will pick up several sheets of paper at a time, jam and freeze your job. We much prefer the HP Photosmart C8180, another printer with dual-paper feed trays that makes refilling easy with several pre-assigned size slots.
We also encountered issues with the software drivers included in the box. After experiencing severe banding after printing just a few photos, we aligned the print head and things seemed to be working until an unexplained error popped up on the screen prompting us to power down the printer and restart. We followed Epson's instructions and even tried searching for an updated driver, but still experienced the same intermittent errors. We also reinstalled the driver several times, restarted and power cycled the printer and our desktop with no success. The random errors disrupted our work flow - we almost spent more time behind the printer freeing up jams than actually testing the device.
These design issues are especially unfortunate because the TX800FW actually has some impressive features. When it works properly, it can streamline your printing work by eliminating the need for a physical computer to act as the liaison. You can perform most functions directly through the printer. For example, you can plug your xD, Memory Stick, Compact Flash or Secure Digital card directly into the front media reader and edit your photos on the large 7.8-inch touchscreen. Granted, you can only crop, rotate and enlarge, but amateur photographers will be thankful for the automated fix options.
Creative types can also take advantage of the robust personalisation options, including custom colouring books, passport and ID photo sheets, photo index sheets, greeting cards, and still movie clips. All of these options are also easy to use with the ArcSoft Print Creations software included in the package. There's also a convenient option to print out blank college-ruled or wide-ruled lined paper.
|Epson Stylus Photo TX800FW|
|News: 5/05/2009 3:43:15 PM|