Advantages Cheap, excellent print quality, brilliant new ink technology
Disadvantages Replacement cartridges are expensive
|Ease of use|
|Range of extra features / functions|
Our Canon BJC-6200 was finally binned this week. Whooppee! The Canon BJC-620 died about two months ago and was replaced with an Epson Stylus C64. We liked it so much we bought... no, not the company, but we did buy another one! The new one arrived today, and I thought it would be good to write the review of this printer as I unpack the box and plug it in, then tell you a bit about why I like it so much. Here goes...THE PACKAGING
THE CONTENTS - in the order they emerge...
A sealed sample pack of 2 sheets of 4" x 6" photo paper (I'll play with that later...)
A CD labelled "Printer software for Epson Stylus C64 series" (glad that's there!)
A mains lead with a standard 3-pin plug.
A sealed small package of documents containing an A2 printed Setup sheet (printed in English on one side and French on the other), and a warranty. The Setup sheet has instructions for unpacking the printer, installing ink cartridges, installing printer software and accessing the online reference guide. Sadly, this means there is no printed manual.
A 4-pack of full size ink cartridges (separate ink tanks for black, cyan, magenta, yellow).
The printer is lightweight and I had no trouble removing it from the box by myself (even though I'm just a weak woman :-). It's beautiful. A lovely silver and black design with rounded corners so there's nothing hard to bash yourself on.There are protective plastic sheets over the printer covers, with nice little blue tabs making them easy to remove. Inside was a small piece of polystryrene with another friendly blue tag. It would be hard to miss these!
THE PAPER SUPPORT
According to the instructions, I have to install the paper support and plug the printer in. The paper support is a very aesthetically pleasing semicircular pice of dark grey plastic and was a dream to slot into place. The instructions are clear and concise with informative diagrams. The paper support on my old Canon BJC-6200 had a habit of dropping into the printer on one side and letting the paper flop. It's nice to see that the paper support on this Epson sits on top of the printer with little slots inside the back of the printer. It shouldn't be possible for the support to drop.
PLUGGING IN - A USEFUL TIP
Under my desk there is a 6-gang plug. At some stage the bright chap in our office labelled all the plugs with the names of their corresponding appliances, so I easily find the one for my old Canon printer and unplug it. After another couple of minutes, I have the lead untangled and my old printer out of the way. Before plugging the new one in, I label the plug.
Installing the ink cartridges, there are good instructions with clear pictures, but the ink cartridges do not push home with a satisfying click. And I can't get the cover on. Then I realise it's because I haven't pushed hard enough (I'm always scared of breaking things - I don't seem to have a good track record with electrical equipment!). After a good hard push on each of the cartridges, there are 4 loud clicks. My colleague on the other side of the office comments "I don't like the sound of that"... so I figure I've got it right this time. Now the cover on the ink cartridges closes properly. I put the cover down....the green light's still flashing and the red light's still on...
INSTALLING THE PRINTER SOFTWARE
Turn off the printer (seems sad since I've just got the friendly green light to come on). Now the light starts flashing again. I'm worried. Oh, it's OK, it's gone out after a few seconds.It says to connect with a USB or parallel printer cable. My previous printer was attached to a parallel printer cable, so I just attach this one where I disconnected the last one, and plug my old cable into the parallel slot. Luckily, the USB & parallel slots are on the left of the machine, in the same place as for my last printer, so the leads don't need moving about.
The CD is inserted in the drive and it autoruns. It asks me to confirm that the anti-virus software is switched off, then opt for a language (you can choose from English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch). It informs me that the following will be installed:Printer Driver
Next, the software reports "Click on install", which I do (I think it's best to follow the instructions in these situations ;-). There is a message asking for the printer to be switched on... I switch it on... lots of hard drive activity...XP messages "Found New Hardware: Epson Stylus C64" and "Software installed" (which it isn't yet). I do nothing for a few minutes and the rest of the sofware installs itself with no further action from me until an Internet connection is requested. I connect to the internet (my connection box has helpfully appeared all by itself).I fill in my details on the Epson website to complete Epson's Online Registration, and I'm left with "Launching EPSON online registration" on screen. I've finished. I wonder what to do...
...while I'm wondering, I close Internet Explorer and disconnect from the internet... I twiddle my thumbs for a few seconds......the CD starts up again and it says "Congratulations! Installation is complete".
That's it!REFERENCE GUIDE
The Reference Guide has sections titled:How to Print
It is simple to use and helpful, but I would prefer a printed manual - they are so much easier to read.PRINTING FOR THE FIRST TIME
I can't find a test page to print, so I go ahead and print something of my own. Brilliant! It prints perfectly first time. The whole setup process took about 30 minutes in total.COLOURS
The print quality is superb for an inkjet: crisp, clear fonts with good deep colouring. The black is a really good deep black and you really could mistake this for laser printing.
Smudgeproof printing also makes it possible to perform double-sided printing without having to wait for inks to dry. When printing double-sided on our Canon BJC-6200, I had to place a piece of scrap paper in the sheet feeder behind the printing sheet because ink from the first side would rub off onto paper in the sheet feeder when printing the second side. There is no need to do this with the Epson - an added bonus!Epson claim their Durabrite inks are light resistant for up to 80 years on their own brand heavy matte paper. Wow.
Separate ink tanks for magenta, cyan and yellow reduce running costs since you only need to replace ink cartridges as they run out. Having said that, the ink cartridges are fairly expensive at £19.37 for the black ink and £7.62 for each of the colours (prices correct at Viking Direct on 27th November 2003). Hopefully, the prices will come down as they produce higher quantities. At the moment, the Epson C64 (and Epson C84 which takes the same cartridges) are fairly new on the market, so replacement cartridges are only just becoming widely available.
We have had one of these machines running in our office for about two months now. It is hard to comment on reliability after such a short space of time, but we have had no problems so far and the machines seem more robust than many similarly priced models. We have had no need to contact Epson support, so I cannot report on how good (or otherwise) they are.
Ink cartridges are straightforward to replace; full instructions are in the online reference guide.
PRINT TO EDGE OF PAPER
Along with the waterproof inks, the Unique Selling Point for this printer is the ability to perform "borderless" printing. This means that your prints can come out looking like real photographs.
EPSON STYLUS C64 PHOTO EDITION
The only difference between the standard edition and the photo edition is that the photo edition includes "Print Image Framer" software and a 20 sheet 10 x 15cm DURABrite media pack.
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Type:Printer ink. Number Of Ink Cartridges:1. Compatible Models:Epson Stylus C/CX C64 Photo C66 Wifi C66N C68 C84 Photo Wifi C84N C84WN C86 Photo...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: In Stock
Compatible Magenta Ink Cartridge
Availability: In Stock
Compatible Cyan Ink Cartridge
Availability: In Stock