Review: Epson CX5200 printer/copier/scanner

Epson Stylus CX5200 printerIn any small office with a single photocopier there s the inevitable queue, especially when someone wants to copy a dozen reports and you only want a single copy. Many low cost scanner now provide an easy copy facility, but it is only recently that all-in-one scanner/printers have started to match standard inkjet printers in terms of price.


Epson has several combination machines, with the CX5200 being pretty much in the middle of their range. It looks like a traditional copier, with the lift-up lid, but in minature but it will take a fair bit of extra space on your desk in comparison to a standard inkjet printer.

{{mosgoogle}}

Installation

Although the printer worked after following the installation instructions to the letter it did not go as smoothly as it might. On inserting the disc a menu appears, prompting you to install, however on the machine reviewed a number of errors appeared, giving the appearance that several applications had not installed correctly. After rebooting as instructed at the end of the install however, everything seemed to work fine.


In use

As you would expect from a multifunction device, there are several ways that you can use it. Let's start with its use as a peripheral to your PC. Printing is as normal, with you simply selecting the printer from the print menu of any program. The configuration options are presented in a plain and simple fashion, with the advanced options available for the propellerheads if they want to tinker.

Epson Stylus CX5200 screen - Properties

As the CX5200 hasfour separate ink cartridges you can see the exact ink levels for each cartridge, making replacements cheaper. The black cartridge is also substantially larger that the three colour ones, which also makes sense.

If you want to use a straightforward 'What do you want to do' interface, Epson provide this by way of an on-screen 'smart panel' (pictured below). This is accessed through an option tucked away in the Start Menu. A nice touch would have been to have a sensor that fires up the menu when you lift the scanner lid, however pressing the Scan button on the printer prompts you on-screen to select the TWAIN application to receive any scans. The scanner is also intelligent enough to stop scanning at the edge of the document. So, for example if you're scanning a business card that is all you'll get - not a large blank image with a card in one corner. Scanner quality is good as well as reasonably fast.

Epson smart panel for CX5200 printer


Other options on the smart panel include Copy to Fax, Scan to Email and Scan to OCR (optical character recognition). The OCR in truth will probably not.

Epson inkjet printers have always been renowned for their quality, and the CX5200 does not compromise this. With a resolution of 5760dpi and DuraBrite inks that dry before the paper has left the printer it churns out pages at a reported 22 pages per minute. While in reality you're more than likely see about 2/3rds of this, it's still a fast inkjet printer. A small gripe would be the rather angry paper feed unit, which snatches paper with a certain sense of urgency! In tests there were no paper jams, even with thick card of 160gsm.


Where this machine really comes into it's own, however, is its overall usefulness in today's office environment. Even if the PC attached to the unit is switched off you can still use it in exactly the same way as a normal photocopier. Through an 11 button menu and LCD panel you can perform a variety of functions, including making up to 99 black and white or colour copies, zoom mode and lightness/darkness adjustments. For a straightforward 1:1 copy it's just a case of lifting the lid, placing the original and pressing either the B&W or Colour copy buttons. The scanner immediately kicks into life at the same time as the paper feeder noisily inserts the paper, with the first copy coming out in under 30 seconds.

{{mosgoogle}}

Conclusion
Given the price any office that regularly has a printing and/or copying bottleneck cannot afford to be without one or more of these units around. This is a machine that can quickly turn a PC into a second fax machine (if a fax/modem is also fitted), photo copier and image scanner as well as a high speed, high class printer - and all for around £120 (under $180). Consumables are reasonable, paper handling is good, print quality in excellent and the ability to use the unit as a standalone copier alone is reason enough for many to buy it. As a standard printer and/or scanner it does not not compromise on quality but as a combined unit it gives the best of both worlds. Despite the minor installation issues this unit receives 5 stars, reflecting its usefullness for virtually any business.


 
Rating

5-star rating

Pro's: Excellent scanner. Superb and fast print quality, even on copier paper. Works as a standalone copier even with the PC switched off.

Con's: Noisy paper feed. Software installation flawed.