* Prices may differ from that shown
I decided to treat my new P-III 850 to a peripheral makeover. The Epson Stylus Scan offered convenience, high quality functions, at a unit price far below machines with comparable quality features. The multifunctionality let met discard a three-way switch and 3 fat parallel cables along with an inferior scanner and two old printers. Like all inkjets, the cost per page is higher than lasers if you are a high-volume user, but you will pay three to five times as much for a laser unit. I always take big jobs to a quick-print place. UPSIDES: Price for the unit (under $250 USD delivered), high quality flatbed scanner (600 x 2400 dpi, 36-bit colour), high quality colour prints (1440 x720 dpi), simple paper path for less jamming problems, copy machine functionality (BW or colour), and fax (using your PC and modem) all hooked up with a single USB cable into an attractive, ruggedly-constructed shell with the same footprint as my old scanner alone. DOWNSIDES: Too few drivers (pretty much Win’95/’98/2000); complex software driver installation process; hard-to-read LED on control panel; high per-page ink cost (not economical for heavy use). When I plugged in the Stylus Scan, my new Windows ME OS was clueless. I had to call Epson technical support to be walked through an ME installation (no ME drivers available). Even the technician had to use trial and error to get my system working using Win’98 drivers – but he succeeded. Now everything works fine. The only nagging nuisance is that the LED readout on the control panel is not lighted. Even with a small torch it is hard to read. Fortunately, the machine is smart enough to do most functions without need to check the LED.
This is a nice printer. It's got good text, good graphics, great photos. This is a great scanner. It has high resolution on its 24-bit colour flat-bed. It does good photocopies, enlargements and reductions, copies colour photos as well. It's a great tool. Looks good on the desk as well. And it has USB and parallel ports. But why, oh why, don't those Epson guys write drivers for Win NT? Why don't they write drivers for Linux? Why are we forced to use Win98 with its inherent instability and general awfulness? Don't buy it. I wish I hadn't. And unless you use Win98 all the time, you'll soon live to regret buying this beast!!
The initial reaction to this printer when you see the spec sheets is very good, especially for only £250 but when you get away from the gloss, it is a completely different story. This is one of the new set of all singing, all dancing devices that seem to be flooding the market over the last couple of years. The device can be used as a printer (colour, b&w), colour scanner, colour copier and fax machine (requires a seperate modem). The printer comes with both parallel and USB connectivity, although only a parallel cable is supplied with the printer. The build quality was not brilliant on these machines either, as i had two out of five turn up non-working, one with the scanner glass displaced and the others head drive belt was not hooked around the drive spindles correctly. These printers were recommended to us for a new project in which they were to be used in a secure cash booth, with medium use, for all of the above funtionality. They were also being used alongside a parallel zip 250 drive (data backup) and a keyboard connected cheque reader. The initial problems started after we had installed the printer. After connecting the printer to the zip drive through port and restarting the machine, we had no response at all from the printer. After checking cables, drives and reinstallation of drivers, we ventured to the web site which had a comment hidden in a tucked away technical support section saying "The stylus scan 2500 is not compatible with zip drive ports" !!!! WHY !!! I have used zip drives in many environments, from DOS and OS/2 through to NT4 and never have i encountered an incompatible device. Plan 'B', get a USB cable, un-install the parallel version and install the USB. After eleven attempts at installing the printer to the USB, i fanally got it going by finding the required drivers hidden behind five obscurely named folders on the driver CD. The actual installation routine would not install the full re
quired drivers for the USB version of the printer, so for anyone new to computers, you don't stand a chance. Once installed the supplied software, i must admit, is very easy to use with the faxing taken care of by a lite version of WinFax. All twain drivers for scanning etc are installed correctly and the supplied DTP packages are also very good. Print quality is passable but slow, averaging about 20-35 seconds for an average page of black text and colour adding another 20-30 seconds to those timings. The average photocopy takes around 30-40 seconds in black and white but up to 5 minutes in colour depending on the resolution (scanning and printing, don't forget). This leads me to the other problem with this printer, the ink. We ended up going through at least 1-2 black cartridges a week @ £24 a piece, which adds up to a fair amount of upkeep. In contrast, my Lexmark Z52 at the same work rate, goes through only one cartridge every 2-3 weeks, a hell of a difference i think you will agree. So who is this printer for, well it is difficult to say as it has so many drawbacks, but i would say it is really for a home office with a small workload. It has all of your required peripherals in one box and some nice touches like one touch faxing, but is expensive to maintain and the quality is average at best.
This is a great product if you are using Windows 98, Windows Millenium, or an Apple Mac. But if you use or are planning to use other operating systems, I would recommend you look elsewhere. Unfortunatly there are no drivers whatsoever available for using this product under Linux, neither Epson or any third party produces drivers. Epson do not support using their products under the Linux operating system which is a big pity as they make some good products. There is also no NT driver available, and the Windows 2000 driver appears very buggy. I would recommend this product, but only if you are a Windows 98/Millenium or Apple Mac user. It has some very nice features for stand-alone copying.