Attractive Features: General-Purpose Inkjet Printers

Epson Stylus C60

In design and print type, the new Stylus Color splits into two groups.

First come the bottom-range C20, C40 and C60. All three use single cartridges. Their designs are similar to and not unlike the little Stylus Photos. The C60 has the same shell as the SP 820 in a different color.

Then there is the C70 and C80 with separate ink tank cartridges.

Mechanically speaking, there are still two groups, but not the same ones. The C20 and C40 go together. They both print slowly. Then there are the C60, C70 and C80, three fast workers whose main advantage is that in color printing, they are twice as fast as Canon, HP and Lexmark printers.

A closer look at performance times shows that the C70 is not the real replacement for the Stylus Color 880 as Epson claims; surprisingly enough, it is the C60.

From the previous table, we can see that its strong point is the 3.5 ppm in color. Its Canon rival is the S300, which is in the same price bracket with 2.5 ppm. Conclusion: the C60 is almost twice as fast . This is also true when it is compared to the S500 and the HP Deskjet 932c. In an Epson vs. Lexmark duel, the Japanese manufacturer wins hands down. In color, its C60 is over three times faster than the Z43 and Z53.

The weakest point: print speed in photo mode. The prints are good but very slow to come out. An A4 print in color or black and white takes over 20 minutes, as opposed to just three minutes with the Canon S500. The C60 colors are truer than the S500 but the dots are more visible in the light zones. As the blocks of intermediate and dark color are now better on the C60 than on the S500, the C60 is beginning to gain the upper hand. It does, however, have the same shortcoming as the other new Canons: it adds magenta when you ask for yellow and cyan when you want magenta. This is supposed to make the photos brighter but it makes the hues less true to the original.

Still on the subject of print quality, but in an office context, in default mode the characters are not always smooth enough. Furthermore, they run a bit when printed on standard paper. On the other hand, the colors of graphics are nice and bright.

In black and white then, results are not as good as the latest Canon, HP and Lexmark printers. It ranks just after HP and ahead of the others for compound document printing.

Last but not least, its cost per page is pretty poor. It is the most expensive Epson for ink, even compared to the Stylus Photo 820. It makes you wonder what Epson is playing at, since the SC 880 cost three times less, and the C70 and C80, though still too expensive for us, are half the price. If Epson carries on like this, it will get a well-deserved reputation for fleecing the customer with the price of its cartridges. So we expect to see this properly corrected in the next generation of peripheral devices.

A final point: this printer is noisy. In addition to its slowness, this makes it an annoying companion if you use it regularly.