* Prices may differ from that shown
We have this printer connected to our desktop computer and regularly use it for our everyday household printing - printing essays, invoices, postage labels etc.
Price and Availability
We have had this printer a couple of years now and I think paid something in the region of £60 or £70. Having a quick look online, the Epson website tells me that the RRP for the printer is currently £49.99 which is a good price for an 'all in one' printer in my opinion.
Main aspects of the product
The printer is an all in one printer which means it is a printer, copier and scanner all in one. Another aspect that it boasts is that it can be used for various tasks WITHOUT turning on your PC, predominantly photos etc.
The picture shown above is identical to the printer and I think it looks quite stylish really, for a printer! It has a glossy black top and lid and the rest of it is a matt black. The paper tray folds away tidily when not in use which makes it look neat and the buttons are all aligned along the left hand side along with a small LCD screen.
Whats in the box?
The printer, 4 ink cartridges, software CD, quick guide, detailed user guide, registration document and a power cable. Note - you will need to provide your own printer lead to connect it to your computer but these can be bought on ebay for around £1.
Setting it up
This was very simple to set up. It's not wireless so at least we weren't daunted with that task which is a bit of a bugbear with us after our HP printer which doesnt seem to realise its meant to be wireless...To set up we simply popped the CD in our PC, installed the software and followed the instructions on screen telling us when to plug it in etc. It was up and running within 10 minutes of getting it out of the box.
I dont tend to write specifications lists because with a lot of products I dont feel that it makes too much difference but a printer of course relies on its specifications, how many pages it can print per minute, what ink it uses etc so I have got these specifications from the Epson website:
Printing Method: 4-colour inkjet printer, Epson Micro PiezoTM print head
Nozzle Configuration: 90 nozzles black / 29 nozzles, each colour (cyan, magenta, yellow)
Droplet Size: 4 pl (minimum) with Variable-sized Droplet Technology
Ink System: Epson DURABrite Ultra Ink
Print Resolution: Up to 5760x1440 optimised dpi on suitable media using RPM (Resolution Performance Management)
Print Speed Black Text A4: Up to 34 ppm*1
Print Speed Colour Text A4: Up to 15 ppm*1
Print Speed Photo 10x15: Approx. 72 secs*1
Printer Interface: Hi-Speed USB - Compatible with USB 2.0 specification*3
Scan Speed Black A4: 300 dpi 2.2 msec/line, 600 dpi 7.2 msec/line
Scan Speed Colour A4: 300 dpi 7.2 msec/line, 600 dpi 13.1 msec/line
Scanning Technology: A4 Flatbed colour image scanner
Sensor Type: CIS
Scan Resolution:1200x2400 dpi
Paper Capacity: Input: 120 sheets A4 plain paper (64 g/m2)
Media Size: A4, A5, A6, B5, 10x15 cm, 13x18 cm, 16:9 wide size, Letter, Legal, 9x13 cm, 13x20 cm, 20x25 cm, 100x148 mm, Envelopes: No.10, DL, C6
Print Margin: 0 mm top, left, right, bottom via custom settings in printer driver*4
Power Consumption: Approx. 13W (Stand-alone copying, ISO/IEC 24712 pattern), Approx. 2.5W (sleep mode), ENERGY STAR® qualified printer
Voltage: AC 220-240V
Optional Warranty: 3 years if available
Standard Warranty: 1 year standard warranty
Dimensions W x D x H: 450x342x182 mm
Operating Systems: Windows XP/XP-x64/Vista, Win 7, Mac OS 10.4.11 or later
Weight: 5.7 kg (excluding ink cartridges and power cable)
Software: Epson Easy Photo Print, Epson Scan, Epson Event Manager, ABBYY FineReader® 9.0 Sprint (PC), ABBYY FineReader® 8.0 Sprint Plus (Mac)
Noise Level: 5.3 B(A) (according to ISO7779 pattern with Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper/Photo RPM mode), 37.7 dB(A) (according to ISO9296)
LCD Screen: 3.8 cm colour
Supported Memory Card: Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo*2, MagicGate Memory Stick, MagicGate Memory Stick Duo*2, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick PRO Duo*2, SD, SDHC, MiniSD*2, MiniSDHC*2, MicroSD*2, MicroSDHC*2, Multi Media Card, xD-Picture card, xD-Picture card Type-M, xD-Picture card Type-H
Using the printer
Using the printer with the computer is very simple, you just go through whatever pathways you usually do to print a document and the machine spits it out! It prints relatively quickly, faster than my HP one anyway however, I wouldnt say it quite lives up to its claim of pages per minute. I would say that one page of black text takes around 5-8 seconds depending on how bold the font is etc. Colour naturally takes a little longer, maybe 20 seconds per sheet if its full of colour. I still think these are very reasonable times because unless you are going to be printing reems and reems at a time then 5-8 seconds per sheet is perfectly acceptable in my opinion.
One aspect of this printer that I do really like is that it hardly ever gets a paper jam. With our previous printers we have had trouble with paper jams and then the printer heads getting stuck etc but this has not been a problem with this one touchwood!
I also find it easy when using alternative paper or card with the printer. I have made homemade cards using the printer and it has printed fine on the card and I have also printed photos before that wasnt a problem either.
We havent actually used the memory card slots etc to print directly rather than going through a PC but I imagine these are fairly simple and straightforward to use like the rest of the product.
Another part of the printer that we use a lot is the scanner. Scanners seem to be going out of fashion a bit but they are really useful when needing to sign a document and return it and this is primarilly what we use it for or to email copy of invoices/quotations etc. To use the scanner you simply put whatever you want to scan in the top, shut the lid and press scan. The image and available options will then appear automatically on your PC screen.
The copier is a really useful feature to have and saves going to the post office every time you need a copy of your passport or a bank statement etc. Again this is exceptionally simple to use, just put your item in, and then select whether you want black and white copies or colour. You can also select if you want multiple copies which is handy.
The all important bit - what do the documents look like? Well, in a word - fantastic. The printer prints perfectly getting all of the lines and prints correct and the trueness to actual colour is fantastic. Unlike my HP, you never print anything and think oh, I'd better try that again.
The documents printed look very neat, tidy and professional. The colours are bright and even twelve months down the line they still look perfect and are not at all faded.
We always buy the recommended Epson ink because in previous products we have tried alternative brands and have found that they never do the job as well. For this printer you have four ink cartridges - black, yellow, cyan and magenta. These can be bought separately or in a multipack. We usually buy one multipack and then an additional black as this is what we use most. The multipacks RRP is £39.71 and the black cartridge is £10.27. However, looking on the site it seems that there are also other variations of Epson ink that do fit in this product with a different quantity of ink. We always buy the Cheetah versions about which are the higher quality ones but you can also buy Giraffe ones which are high capacity and only available in black 2 @ £22.81 or standard ones which are Monkey which retail at £7.70 for a black and £27.99 for a multipack.
As I said we always buy the Cheetah ones for some reason and we are really pleased with their performance. We do a fair amount of printing, probably 50-100 sheets most weeks predominantly black but also around 30% colour and we only ever change our ink once every 4 or 5 months at the most which in my opinion is a good amount of time.
As the cartridges are separate and you have a different one for each colour this also makes it more economically viable if you are likely to use more of one particular colour.
This is a fantastic reliable printer which performs perfectly every time. The print time is good and the quality of the prints are brilliant. It is very easy to set up and use and there are never any problems. I am awarding it four stars but the only reason for losing one star is that it isnt wireless which is what a lot of people require these days.
From an all-in-one printer, you expect certain things - that it'll actually print; primarily this is the main reason for buying a printer (one would presume), to scan accurately to a good resolution and to copy. This printer does this pretty well.
--- Specifications ---
Size (approximate) 45x34x18 - it's reasonably sized; not impractical to have under a desk or on a surface, not so small that you feel constrained as to what you can scan. The board onto which pages come out can be folded away, which is useful, meaning that it can be condensed when not being used.
Copying size - the specification says A4, but it can do a little larger, which is useful if you're photocopying pages from books, because it allows you to do a double page spread from some.
Nozzle configuration - 90 (black) 29 (colour).
--- Review ---
Firstly, as a printer, it's pretty good. I print quite a lot of documents, and it does a pretty good job most of the time. It prints simple word processed documents (without pictures or colour) fairly rapidly, which is good if you're printing a lot - saves time. As for colour, well it's not always great. It can be VERY slow, taking a good few minutes to do one sheet, which isn't always perfect. With both colour and monochrome, occasionally you get lines across the page, which can cut out bits of the text, or ruin a photo. This can be resolved with cleaning the nozzle heads; which is a fairly easy process, but it can be a bit frustrating, because as it ages, this seems to be need to be done more and more.
As for a scanner, I think this is probably it's strong point. I scan a fair amount of documents because I like to digitalise my work, and this it handles nicely. Although it's not the quickest scanner in the world, it is accurate, and I am able to scan documents to a resolution better than I can see in reality. This is very good. I've had scanners before (separate from printers), which have been equally as good as this, so in this regard, it does well.
For a photocopier, it can be a tad annoying. It is once again very slow, and quite ink hungry I think. It's a cool and useful feature to have, but I can't say that I use it very much, because it does seem slow. If I want to photocopy something, I try to use a designated photocopier rather than this, but for running a few copies of something off, it's not dire.
As for ink, well it can last for quite a while; it would be nice to go a little longer, but it is useful that the ink cartridges are separate, because it saves you having to replace it constantly, instead you just buy the ones you need. This can be handy, and replacing them isn't too difficult, although I have struggled a few times to get the cartridge loader to stop in the right place, but I think this is more down to my ignorance, rather than a fault of the machine.
The screen on the printer isn't great - the resolution is quite low and it's quite small. It's not a huge issue because I print most often from computers, so it doesn't really matter.
--- Summary ---
If you want a fairly well priced printer, which is pretty good at performing multiple tasks, then this is the thing for you. It's not the most high end device in the world, but it does the job well enough, and is pretty practical.
Epson Stylus SX218 a printer, scanner and copier with a colour LCD screen to view your photos before printing them, all in one for a very reasonable price of £49.97 from a local supermarket. I bought this as a replacement to my previous printer and have been made up with it's performance so far. It was very easy to set up and install and took me less than 15 minutes to do this. The printer has four separate ink cartridges, meaning you only need to replace the cartridge which has run out. An affordable way to print, especially as their black cartridge on average costs around £8.00 and a multi pack of colour cartridges will cost around £18.50. The ink cartridges can be purchased from most of the high street stores which is a huge advantage, no need to order online from specific shops. If you like to print your own photos this printer is ideal, not only does it have an LCD viewer so you view before your print, but you can also put your memory card straight into the printer, no need for cables and wires to be attached. You can print photos using an A4 index sheet, relatively easily by printing off an index sheet, marking the photos that you want to print and then scan the index sheet to print your selection of photos. You can scan documents and photos straight from your printer onto your computer, providing you have already installed the software for the printer. This printer was recommended to me by a family member and I would definitely pass on that recommendation to anyone that asked.