* Prices may differ from that shown
-Background to the Purchase-
In a previous life (before I had my son) I used to sell handmade wedding stationery. My first printer was a colour laser model which lasted less than a year before breaking. The replacement was a wax printer and was considerably more expensive than the laser - that lasted about 13 months.
So I after getting a little fed up with printers I decided I didn't want to spend a fortune only for it to break down after a few months.
So my requirements were:
-£150 or less
-Good quality print outs
-Preferably waterproof prints
-Quick print out speeds.
-The Search Was On-
You might think from my requirements that I would need a laser printer but I found an alternative - a printer that uses DURABrite inks. Although not waterproof, Epson claimed the ink to be water resistant and would not smudge when highlighting text with a marker pen. The speed and print quality seemed adequate for my needs so I purchased the Epson B40W at a cost of around £140.
-Print Quality & Speed-
The print quality is excellent and the colours bright. Although the ink does not have a shine to it like some other inks, it has more of a matte finish, it still packs a vibrant punch. The advertised DPI is 5760 x 1440 - plenty for most business and home users.
Printing wedding stationery means I print onto varying sizes and thickness of card. The B40W printed onto 300 GSM card but that was pushing the printer to it's limits. A more realistic maximum is 250 GSM - which is what I used most of the time anyway when not printing on 100 GSM paper.
Obviously I had to test of the claim of the water resistance of the ink. Epson are not telling porkies on that point - it really is smudge resistant when drawn over with a highlighter or dabbed with a bit of water. It does smear if you really try to wet it but as it doesn't claim to be waterproof I think that is perfectly acceptable.
Epson claim that the print speed is:
-38 Pages/min Monochrome (plain paper 75 g/m²),
-38 Pages/min Color (plain paper 75 g/m²),
-20 Seconds per 10 x 15 cm photo (Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper)
Although I have never timed the printing speed I'm pretty it has never achieved 38 pages per minute. But then again claimed printing speeds usually don't translate into reality. From looking at a couple of reviews on other sites the suggested print speed seems to be closer to 16 - 19 pages per minute.
-Setting it Up-
I have a wireless network and you might be able to guess from the model number (B40W) that this printer is wireless. It can also be used on a wired network (10/100) and via USB 2.0.
Setting it up to work with my wireless router was easy as the set-up CD took you through each step. My network detected the printer straight away, after just a couple more clicks it was done. But when the router needs resetting it can cause problems, as the printer will be assigned a different IP address and I can no longer print to it as my PC sends prints to the old IP. I think if I remember rightly (it has been a long time since I have done it) if you switch the printer on and off again it sorts itself out. However you can rectify the problem by assigning a static IP address to the printer, this is what I did and it's why I'm not 100% sure how to fix the problem without doing this!
Overall though it is quick and easy to get the printer up and running. To add the printer is compatible with Mac OS 10.3+, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows XP x64 according to Epson website. I have used it with Windows 7 and although it works OK I can not see how much ink is left as the ink monitor software does not work. However, I can log into my printer from my browser and see how much ink is left that way so it's not too much of a problem. But if you are using the printer via USB then you would not be able to do this.
I only use Epson inks because I am worried that compatibles might not be smudge resistant. The inks are not cheap, but then they never are.
The larger capacity "Rhino" inks are better value for money at £40.38* for a 3 colour pack containing 33.3 ml of ink versus the standard capacity "Cheetah" inks at £39.71* for a 3 colour pack containing 23.9 ml.
From Epson's website: "The high yield individual ink cartridges give a cost per page comparable to a laser printer"
I have never worked out the cost but the claim is only valid when printing black ink - something that I do sometimes but not all the time. Therefore I can't work out this claim as I would need to print solely in black. However, I do have a mono laser print and although the cartridges are a lot more expensive they do last a lot, lot longer. I therefore doubt the claim of being comparable really is true.
Overall I'm happy with the printer. It looks stylish, has a good print quality, has several connection options and isn't too expensive per print for an inkjet. And one of my favorites points is the water resistant ink, which in my opinion gives a more professorial feel to your documents. But it does have one negative, sometimes when using non-standard sized media it can mark one corner of the paper or card with ink. This doesn't happen all the time and has never happened when printing A4 or A5 sheets.
*Prices mentioned are RRP prices, I get my inks from Amazon so they work out a bit cheaper.