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In the ten years since I've had access to a home computer, I have slowly worked my way through several pieces of equipment and am now on my third laptop. My printer, by contrast, is the same one that I purchased with my original pc and is still in full working order - this trusty Epson C64.
Despite being in my household for almost a decade, this inkjet printer still seems a relatively stylish piece of kit, with classic metallic silver and black colouring and a simple, easy to use design. I like the compact design, particularly as I no longer have a desktop pc so my printer is kept 'in storage' in the wardrobe between uses! It is fairly heavy but still small enough to be reasonably portable so I am able to cart this about upstairs and downstairs when required. I daresay a wireless printer would be a more practical option, given our lack of space and infrequent usage of a printer nowadays but, I am actually pretty attached to this printer and would feel incredibly disloyal in replacing with a fancy pants wireless model when all this Epson has shown me is loyalty and reliability! (Sadly, now I have upgraded to a Macbook I do need to be another printer shortly as this old design is not compatible with a Macbook so I have to utilise my son's netbook to connect to a printer at the minute.)
One of the reasons why I originally chose an Epson branded printer was due to their reputation as a reliable and long lasting brand. My experiences with this particular printer have certainly born that reputation out and I will certainly be purchasing another Epson printer when I do replace this one. Over the years, this printer has seen considerable action as I originally purchased it when I was studying for a Masters degree. This printer saw me through a considerable number of essays and assignments as well as that all-important dissertation without ever experiencing any issues.
Nowadays, I tend to print less and less and only really use this printer for the occasional packing slip when selling on Amazon marketplace or Ebay unless the kids need to print something out. I have found this inkjet printer to be pretty economical to run, especially as I no longer use the overpriced 'genuine' Epson branded cartridges. Despite warnings that imitation cartridges are inferior and can cause blockages or damage to the printer (as well as invalidating any warranties, although that is clearly not an issue with a printer as old as mine) I have never experienced any such issues when using cheaper non-branded inks.
The quality of the print is consistently clear and faultless. The only issue that I have experienced has been when attempting to print out photographs, where this printer does disappoint. I find that the colour quality doesn't quite match the shades of the images, even when Epson cartridges are used. I also find that printing photos uses an incredible amount of ink and, after some disappointing and costly results, I no longer use this printer to print out photos as the quality does not justify the expense.
One of the main attractions of this printer is its simplicity. Paper is loaded at the top of the printer and I find that it can manage a decent amount of paper without causing any jamming. There are just three buttons at the top of the printer; a power button, ink button (to reset after replacing the cartridges) and a paper reset button. It is very obvious when either the paper or ink needs to be replaced, thanks to the simple warning lights that show up as well as the audible beeping to indicate an issue with printing.
Despite the age of this printer, I find both Epson branded and imitation cartridges are still very widely available, certainly online. My most recent purchase was through inkfactory.com where I was able to purchase six 'Jet Tec' branded cartridges, of various shades, for less than £20, including delivery. There are frequently promotions and cashback offers from various online ink suppliers so it is well worth shopping around but I have certainly found this printer to be inexpensive to run.
I do like that this printer uses four separate coloured ink cartridges (black, cyan, yellow and magenta), meaning that I only need to replace each colour as it runs out. This is useful for me as I generally get through the black ink much more quickly than I use any of the other colours, unless the kids have gone wild on the CBeebies print-outs! The only slight issue is that it is not possible to print at all if any of the cartridges have actually run out - even if it is a coloured ink and I only need basic black printing. There are some clever models that can 'merge' inks so that it allows printing even if one of the cartridges is empty but that is not the case here.
Replacing any of the cartridges is straightforward although I do find it can be a slightly messy business as there does appear to be a considerable amount of ink left in each cartridge, despite the printer informing me that the cartridge is empty. The printer indicates which particular colour is empty, thanks to a simple mechanism which 'points' to the empty cartridge. For anybody who finds this particularly taxing there is even a series of pictorial instructions printed under the lid for a quick reminder of the process.
There is very little that I would change about this printer and would hope to replace it with something fairly similar as I love its ease of use and reliability. The only minor issue is that I would prefer both the lead and connecting usb lead to be slightly longer but that would not be a concern for most users.
I am certainly a satisfied Epson customer and, although this printer is pretty basic in comparison to modern models with their wireless capabilities and scanning and photocopying functions this has served me well.
We have never bought expensive printers and in my family we have used Epson for years so that was the brand I looked for when replacing my first printer, we bought this from Tesco at the time costing around £40.
The printer was made of hard plastic and had a sort of stretched out semi circle shaped piece of plastic to slot in the top for the paper to sit against. At the bottom of the printer there was a flap to pull down at the bottom and a second one which slides out of the first to make exit for the paper a little longer. The printer was pretty nice looking too, the plastic is silver at the sides and then black in the middle and all the edges are rounded which makes it look sleeker in my opinion.
The printer has 4 separate ink cartridges in yellow, magenta, cyan and black which is one thing that I always insist on in a printer as I prefer being able to change one at a time and therefore paying less out at any one time than paying out for a multi ink.
Installing the ink cartridges is very easy and even I could manage this one on my own, when the printer needs an ink you get a red light on next to the ink button which sits along with the power button at the top of the printer. When you press the ink button the ink box inside whizzes along to an arrow and positions itself so that the arrow points to the ink which needs changing. To change the ink you pull up the cover of the ink box, take out the old cartridge with a little tug and then having removed the cover from the new cartridge push it into place with a click. Once finished put the lid of the ink box back down and press the ink button then the printer will makes a bit of noise and get the ink ready for use.
When you first buy the printer it comes packaged in the usual cardboard box and inside you will find the necessary power leads and also a CD with the printer software on it. To set the printer up we placed the CD in the computer and it gave us a pop up box, we selected to install and the computer and CD worked together and did what was needed for our printer to work, I was very impressed at how easy it was to set up.
The printer is pretty quiet when in use which is great as I had a baby whilst using this printer and she was never woken by it. The printer worked for both normal writing type printing, black and white printing and colour printing with no difference in quality no matter what I was printing. I printed out lots of photographs using this printer and again the quality was fantastic and there were no problems in using the printer for the photos. The printer is lightweight which was another important thing for us as we had to pull it out of a cabinet when we wanted to use it due to lack of space in the computer cabinet.
Paper tray holds 120 sheets,
Black printing max 4.8 pages per minute
Photo printing 8 x 10 - 4 minutes 47 seconds
Initial set up - 15 minutes
There was only ever one draw back of this printer and that was when you set it on high quality printing it took forever to print a picture but then I only used this setting for photos and was always happy to wait and get the best pint job I could on my pictures.
I loved this printer and we only got rid of it as my parents offered us a printer with inbuilt copier and scanner, we past the printer on to my sister in law and my Nephews still use it now for their homework assignments and there are still no problems with the printer.
Prior to purchasing this product, my fundmental problems with printers was in loading paper, the quality of prints and the price of ink cartridges. I feel that the Epson C64 has none of these problems.
Printing quality of the Epson C64 is fantastic. I purchased this printer to use for office use, printing documents but in times when I have required to print photographs, I have been very impressed with the quality (retail photgraph quality).
This was my first Epson printer, previously I had owned about 4 Canons. I don't know whether it was a fault of Canon printers, or printers in general but I found that my old Canon printers had problems in loading paper. Despite paper being in the tray to be use, frequently it would not load automatically. Subsequently, I would have to load the paper manually, frustrating and time consuming. The Epson C64 has no issues.
The price of ink cartridges certainly put me off buying another Canon. For the Epson C64, I have been buying third party ink catridges off a a very popular online site, for just £5 each. The cartridges perform well and last as long as the official Espon ones. In the long term, financially the Epson C64 is an excellant choice.
The only criticism I have of the printer is that it can be slow printing general text documents. I'm using a high specification computer but find that the print takes a long time to commence, and a long time to actually print. However relative, it is still average and this is a minor criticism.
So to conclude, I believe this printer is ideal for users who want a balance of a printer to produce Word documents and to print photographs. Photograph quality is excellant and it prints word documents to a satisfactory standard. The only user who I wouldn't recommend this produt to is those who have no interest in printing photographs, but instead many text documents.
Tips about Epson Stylus C6
Our Canon BJC-6200 was finally binned this week. Whooppee! The Canon BJC-620 died about two months ago and was replaced with an Epson Stylus C64. We liked it so much we bought... no, not the company, but we did buy another one! The new one arrived today, and I thought it would be good to write the review of this printer as I unpack the box and plug it in, then tell you a bit about why I like it so much. Here goes... THE PACKAGING The first thing to notice is that as the sellotape is removed from the top of the box, a good amount of the pretty green external colouring comes with it. This reassures me that the box hasn't been opened before. The outer carton is sturdy, and inside there is a small piece of cardboard and the usual unrecyclable polystyrene packaging. The packaging was good enough to see the printer delivered to me in perfect condition. The printer itself is wrapped in polythene, and all the extras are individually wrapped in polythene bags or bubble wrap. This should keep everything dry in our damp climate. THE CONTENTS - in the order they emerge... A sealed sample pack of 2 sheets of 4" x 6" photo paper (I'll play with that later...) A CD labelled "Printer software for Epson Stylus C64 series" (glad that's there!) A mains lead with a standard 3-pin plug. A sealed small package of documents containing an A2 printed Setup sheet (printed in English on one side and French on the other), and a warranty. The Setup sheet has instructions for unpacking the printer, installing ink cartridges, installing printer software and accessing the online reference guide. Sadly, this means there is no printed manual. A 4-pack of full size ink cartridges (separate ink tanks for black, cyan, magenta, yellow). Paper support and finally.... the printer! There is a notice stuck to the printer warning you to remove some packaging from inside - must read this! The printer is lightwe
ight and I had no trouble removing it from the box by myself (even though I'm just a weak woman :-). It's beautiful. A lovely silver and black design with rounded corners so there's nothing hard to bash yourself on. There are protective plastic sheets over the printer covers, with nice little blue tabs making them easy to remove. Inside was a small piece of polystryrene with another friendly blue tag. It would be hard to miss these! THE PAPER SUPPORT According to the instructions, I have to install the paper support and plug the printer in. The paper support is a very aesthetically pleasing semicircular pice of dark grey plastic and was a dream to slot into place. The instructions are clear and concise with informative diagrams. The paper support on my old Canon BJC-6200 had a habit of dropping into the printer on one side and letting the paper flop. It's nice to see that the paper support on this Epson sits on top of the printer with little slots inside the back of the printer. It shouldn't be possible for the support to drop. It doesn't say anything yet about a printer lead, and there wasn't one with the printer (but I have a parallel printer lead from my old Canon-BJC 6200 which should do the job). Following the instructions, I won't connect the printer to my PC at this point, just plug it in and go on to the next stage. PLUGGING IN - A USEFUL TIP Under my desk there is a 6-gang plug. At some stage the bright chap in our office labelled all the plugs with the names of their corresponding appliances, so I easily find the one for my old Canon printer and unplug it. After another couple of minutes, I have the lead untangled and my old printer out of the way. Before plugging the new one in, I label the plug. INSTALLING THE INK CARTRIDGES As instructed, I press the power button. I am left with a flashing green light on the power button, and a permanent red light on the ink bu
tton. I wonder if this is right, but it doesn't say (and of course, with no manual yet you can't check the error codes (please can we have printed manuals back???). Installing the ink cartridges, there are good instructions with clear pictures, but the ink cartridges do not push home with a satisfying click. And I can't get the cover on. Then I realise it's because I haven't pushed hard enough (I'm always scared of breaking things - I don't seem to have a good track record with electrical equipment!). After a good hard push on each of the cartridges, there are 4 loud clicks. My colleague on the other side of the office comments "I don't like the sound of that"... so I figure I've got it right this time. Now the cover on the ink cartridges closes properly. I put the cover down. ...the green light's still flashing and the red light's still on... CHARGING THE INK The next step is to "press the ink button". So this I do. At first, I didn't think anything was going to happen. Then the red light went out and my printer started making a lot of noise. The instructions say the printer is "ink charging" and that it takes about one and a half minutes. I don't know what it is, but I'm timing it... it's just over a minute. The printer's gone quiet. The green light has stopped flashing. I think it's finished. There is a warning in the instructions that says some of the ink in the cartridges is used up charging the print head, so this initial set of cartridges won't last as long as the next set. INSTALLING THE PRINTER SOFTWARE Turn off the printer (seems sad since I've just got the friendly green light to come on). Now the light starts flashing again. I'm worried. Oh, it's OK, it's gone out after a few seconds.It says to connect with a USB or parallel printer cable. My previous printer was attached to a parallel printer c
able, so I just attach this one where I disconnected the last one, and plug my old cable into the parallel slot. Luckily, the USB & parallel slots are on the left of the machine, in the same place as for my last printer, so the leads don't need moving about. Now it says to install the printer software. It warns me to turn off my anti-virus protection first (I don't like doing this, but you have to switch off any programmes that might be running in the background when you install new software, so I'll need to.) The CD is inserted in the drive and it autoruns. It asks me to confirm that the anti-virus software is switched off, then opt for a language (you can choose from English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch). It informs me that the following will be installed: Printer Driver Epson Status Monitor 3 Reference Guide Epson PhotoQuicker Photo Print Software Setup Epson Online Registration Next, the software reports "Click on install", which I do (I think it's best to follow the instructions in these situations ;-). There is a message asking for the printer to be switched on... I switch it on... lots of hard drive activity...XP messages "Found New Hardware: Epson Stylus C64" and "Software installed" (which it isn't yet). I do nothing for a few minutes and the rest of the sofware installs itself with no further action from me until an Internet connection is requested. I connect to the internet (my connection box has helpfully appeared all by itself). I fill in my details on the Epson website to complete Epson's Online Registration, and I'm left with "Launching EPSON online registration" on screen. I've finished. I wonder what to do... ...while I'm wondering, I close Internet Explorer and disconnect from the internet... I twiddle my thumbs for a few seconds... ...the CD starts up again and it
says "Congratulations! Installation is complete". That's it! REFERENCE GUIDE The setup guide informs me to "see the "Reference Guide" for detailed information about printing from your computer for the first time". So I set about finding it. Actually it's not too difficult because there are two new icons on my desktop - "ESC64 Refere..." and "ESC64 Software Guide". I assume it's the first one I want and double click. The Reference Guide has sections titled: How to Print Various Printing Options Printer Software Settings Replacing Ink Cartridges Improving print quality Problem solver Other information It is simple to use and helpful, but I would prefer a printed manual - they are so much easier to read. PRINTING FOR THE FIRST TIME Loading the machine with paper for the first time, two things strike me as great ideas. The first is that the paper is almost upright, so the printer takes up very little space on my desk. The second is that the sheet feeder holds a huge 120 pages of premium inkjet paper. This is much more than any other inkjet we have owned. There are helpful tabs on the paper guides to stop you overloading the paper, and to show where the paper goes. I can't find a test page to print, so I go ahead and print something of my own. Brilliant! It prints perfectly first time. The whole setup process took about 30 minutes in total. COLOURS The colours are bright, clear and intense. The Epson's Durabrite inks are certainly superior to either of our old Canon inkjet printers. PRINT QUALITY The print quality is superb for an inkjet: crisp, clear fonts with good deep colouring. The black is a really good deep black and you really could mistake this for laser printing. INK TECHNOLOGY The new Epson Durabrite inks are claimed to be waterproof and smudge proof.One of t
he most annoying things about our old Canon BJC-6200 was the way the ink had a tendency to smudge on newly printed labels. We print labels for some software that is supplied on a floppy disc, and it is really annoying to have to wait for ages for the ink to dry before applying labels. Epson claim their new Durabrite ink is smudgeproof, so I put it to the test. Immediately a label sheet printed, I rubbed my thumb along the ink and it didn't smudge. It even passed the "licked finger" test :-) Without a magnifying glass, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between this printer and a colour laser, high praise indeed! Smudgeproof printing also makes it possible to perform double-sided printing without having to wait for inks to dry. When printing double-sided on our Canon BJC-6200, I had to place a piece of scrap paper in the sheet feeder behind the printing sheet because ink from the first side would rub off onto paper in the sheet feeder when printing the second side. There is no need to do this with the Epson - an added bonus! Epson claim their Durabrite inks are light resistant for up to 80 years on their own brand heavy matte paper. Wow. RUNNING COSTS Separate ink tanks for magenta, cyan and yellow reduce running costs since you only need to replace ink cartridges as they run out. Having said that, the ink cartridges are fairly expensive at £19.37 for the black ink and £7.62 for each of the colours (prices correct at Viking Direct on 27th November 2003). Hopefully, the prices will come down as they produce higher quantities. At the moment, the Epson C64 (and Epson C84 which takes the same cartridges) are fairly new on the market, so replacement cartridges are only just becoming widely available. At £42.23 (inc VAT) for a complete set of ink cartridges, it would be tempting (although not environmentally acceptable) to throw away the printer and buy a new one when the ink needs replacing. It certainly
doesn't seem worth repairing printers these days, which is probably why so many printers on the market seem tacky, plasticky and not built to last. RELIABILITY We have had one of these machines running in our office for about two months now. It is hard to comment on reliability after such a short space of time, but we have had no problems so far and the machines seem more robust than many similarly priced models. We have had no need to contact Epson support, so I cannot report on how good (or otherwise) they are. PAPER HANDLING The Epson, like our Canon-BJC6200, has very good paper handling. We have had no misfeeds thus far and have used it for printing on a variety of media including premium inkjet paper, A4 label sheets, photo paper, T-shirt transfers, CD-R labels and insert labels for CD covers. The colours on all media are bright and consistent. REPLACING INKS Ink cartridges are straightforward to replace; full instructions are in the online reference guide. PRINT SPEED Slow on high quality printing, but the standard text printing is of a standard speed and still has good quality printing. Photos can take a couple of minutes to print, but are printed with excellent results. PRINT TO EDGE OF PAPER Along with the waterproof inks, the Unique Selling Point for this printer is the ability to perform "borderless" printing. This means that your prints can come out looking like real photographs. WEBSITE The official Epson website page for the C64 with all the technical information you could want is http://www.epson.co.uk/sohoprod/printers/inkjet/styc64/ PURCHASE COST £61.10 (inc. VAT) + P&P for the basic Epson Stylus C64 from Dabs.com, ordered last night at 4 p.m. from their website, and arrived here in rural Cornwall before 11 a.m. this morning (and just before Christmas too!). EPSON STYLUS C64 PHOTO EDITION The only difference between the s
tandard edition and the photo edition is that the photo edition includes "Print Image Framer" software and a 20 sheet 10 x 15cm DURABrite media pack. If you've managed to read this far, thanks and go for it!