Saturday, February 6, 2010

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Review: Epson Stylus NX515 All-In-One Printer

Since our last all-in-one inkjet printer failed, my husband and I thought we could get by with just a good quality black and white laser printer. We figured that any color print jobs we had could be sent to the local FedEx Office or photo place. As our children have grown, our needs have changed. We don't just need to print birthday invitations once a year anymore. Instead we also have children's artwork, potty charts, and reward certificates to print. On top of that, I want to start updating our framed photos and photo albums more often than once a year, so the answer for us seemed to be a high quality photo printer.

For this reason, I was thrilled with the timeliness of Epson's offer to review the Epson Stylus NX515 all-in-one printer, which is one in four AIOs Epson had added to it's Stylus NX series in 2009. Although having a scanner and a copier is convenient, the main focus for this review will be on the print quality and how user-friendly this printer really is. Those are the two most important things for a household like mine.

What I thought about this Epson all-in-one printer:

1) At 17.7" wide, I think this AIO printer is as compact as it can be while still being user-friendly at the same time.

2) Although I like the sleek versatile look of the printer in black, it is a dust and pet hair magnet (but so is my laptop, our television, and any other black electronics in our home).


3) Having a built-in WiFi and Ethernet connection gives us the option of going wireless, which is extremely convenient. This way, we can print from our laptops from anywhere in the house. I still have to connect my laptop with a USB cable to print on our laser printer. With this Epson you have the option of using a wired or wireless network.

4) The disc that comes with this printer supports Windows 2000, Windows XP and XP Professional, Windows Vista, and Apple Mac OS X. If you have Windows 7, you do not need the disc to set up your printer. Instead you will need to go to Epson's Microsoft Windows 7 Support page to download the drivers you need.

5) After that, printing is easy, even for various sizes of photos. For printing photos quickly you simply select your paper size, desired print quality, paper type, and whether you would like your computer to auto-fit your print project to the frame size.


6) I have to say that I love that the 2.5" color screen on top of the printer tilts foward. No more leaning over the top of the printer trying to read the options. This is especially nice if your printer is located on a shelf or high up in a hutch.


7) Another practical feature I like is that the paper tray not only retracts, it also folds up and latches. This is a huge space-saver and helps to keep unwanted debris from entering the interior of the printer.


8) If print speed is important to you, then you will be happy to know that this printer prints documents almost as quickly as our laser printer. For a 4x6 inch color photo, it takes about 20 seconds to print one from edge to edge.

9) I was pretty happy with the smooth feed of the paper on this printer. One time, I forgot to push the guide over when printing a 4x6 photo and it still printed without any fuzziness or having the paper move or jam.

10) This printer can print documents and photos without going through your computer. It takes all types of memory cards (including xD, SD, MS Pro, and CF) and USB flash drives. The LCD screen serves as a little computer monitor to assist you in printing and viewing your projects. It is not intuitive to me that the slot on the left has three spaces inside for the different types of smaller memory cards. Once you realize it, then it is easy to use.


11) This printer has the capabilities of photo enhancement. This is nice if you are not capable or do not have the time to use photo-editing software to edit your photos yourself. You must make your selection, such as "fix red-eye" prior to printing.


12) This printer also has the ability to restore old photographs that have faded or perhaps discolored. This is a wonderful feature for anyone who has taken on the project of scanning their old family photos and saving a digital copy of these photos for themselves and to share with friends and family.

13) The function of "Fix Photo" is great to use as a default function, except for two circumstances that I will explain below. This function brightens and sharpens your photos all on its own. As you can see below, it works great on most photos.


I did not find the "Fix Photo" function to be helpful when there was a lot of red and brown or a lot of white in the photo. On this photo, my daughters eyes look a lighter brown than normal, but the "Fix Photo" actually gave her red-eye. It also made her face a washed out pink.


On this next photo, the "Fix Photo" again enhanced the red-eye and turned my son's orange pants into red. It also washed out the white in my son's shirt, so many of the details of the fabric that were once seen in the original sharp photo disappeared.


14) If you have children (or impatient adults) in your household or office, then you will be as thrilled as I am about the DURABrite Ultra Ink used in this Epson. It dries immediately on documents and just after a few seconds on full color photos. This ink is smudge-free and water resistant. Not only is this great for important projects, but wouldn't it be nice if your children could color with markers on coloring pages you printed for them without the lines smudging when wet with a marker?

15) One other important thing you should know is that this Epson printer is eco-friendly and more cost-efficient. It is ENERGY STAR qualified, designed to be recycled, and the quick drying ink allows you to print on both sides of your paper without worries of smudging.

Aside from the effects of the "Fix Photo" feature on photos with lots of white, red, and brown, I am extremely happy with this printer. I have not had it in my home for long enough to speak about it's durability. I can only say that it appears to be well-constructed and solidly built, right down to the paper tray. This printer also comes with bonus Arcsoft Print Creations software, which allows you to create invitations, cards, photo calendars, and other personalized projects.

To learn more about this printer, click on this link to view the Epson Stylus NX515 Printer specifications. You should be able to find this printer, which retails for approximately $149.99, at most major retailers of computers, office products, and electronics, as well as on the Epson website.


Thank you to Epson America, Inc for providing a printer, ink, and paper samples for us to base this review upon and also for providing facts and product specifications in a press kit.