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Epson Stylus CX3600

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    1 Review
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      05.07.2012 20:48
      Very helpful



      The Epson CX3600 will definitely get you there, but it will be no short journey!

      This printer was very much a middle of the range affair price wise when we purchased way back in 2006, so I think it's a testament to its lifespan and durability that it is still sitting here under my computer desk today as I write this review (or maybe I'm just too tight to shell out on another one!). I think it only cost around fifty pounds when I bought it, so I'd imagine people would be just about giving this one away now with so many revisions of the model now having been issued.

      However, old doesn't always mean obsolete, and this old baby can still do a reasonable job if you are not a power player when it comes to printing. Going in favour for the Epson CX3600 is the fact that compatible inks are ludicrously cheap online (I know some people will tell you to go only with the branded stuff but I've never had a problem with compatibles). It prints reasonably quickly; a black and white page will whizz from the printer in about 3-5 seconds (this may be eons compared to a modern model mind!), whereas a color print in 'best quality mode' takes about a minute (you can actually hear the printer head patiently moving back and forth over each line). The print quality is fine, as long as you've cleaned the nozzle and run a check to see if all the colors are printing as they should (this can all be conveniently handled within Windows printer manager once you've installed Epson's drivers and software). If you do bother to print your own photos (I'm dubious as to whether this is worth bothering with in this day and age of cheap online services offering this), provided you have some decent photo paper the results look great, but of course like any inkjet, if you spill any water on these and you can expect the colors to run. I'd always recommend just printing them on one of the many cheap online retailers offering this.

      You can of course scan with this model. This can be done either using Windows inbuilt Scan software (where you can preview quickly what you are scanning) or conveniently on the printer itself without having to switch your PC on (good if you are in a hurry). The options on the printer itself for this couldn't be more simple; switch it on and press either the black and white or the colour option and wait for it to print what you scanned. Again, scanning could be quicker, but this is a 6 year old printer, and it still gets the job done if you are not fussy.

      Connection to the PC is by USB (almost standard now unless your printer is from the arc), and it takes four ink cartridges of Black, Magenta, Cyan and Yellow (I believe some only have three colours and use two inks to combine thus eating up ink more quickly). You'll of course need a ready supply of Black cartridges as this does go through them fairly quickly if you are a heavy user.

      So my major gripe with this printer (and any printer with this feature) is the back loading of the paper. I knew this when I bought it, but after using it for six years and having to fumble around at the back of the computer desk every time I need to reload the paper (unfortunately you can only load about 10 sheets of A4 before you get a dreaded paper jam) is a real pain and when I do upgrade a forward loading option will be the top of my wish list. Also aligning the paper around the back of the printer is a little fiddly; if it is not loaded perfectly straight expect a flashing light on the printer and an ominous message from windows printer wizard telling you that you are out of paper. Most annoying.

      To be fair, this printer has been a loyal servant, printing thousands of documents for me and scanning a few to boot, but I be hard pressed to say go for this when new printer models come along as often as buses. If you can get a real deal on it and you perhaps want something to tide you over, or you are perhaps someone who only does the occasional print, then you could do a lot worse, but, I suspect, a lot better too.


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