Epson Stylus CX4700

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      Epson’s Stylus CX4700 is an affordable multifunction printer for home and small office users who want top quality document printouts plus scanning and copying facilities and the ability to print photos. It uses four individually packed DURABrite Ultra pigment inks, which promise prints that will last up to 120 years and offers an ‘optimized’ resolution of 5760dpi with Resolution Performance Management (RPM) technology. . . [more]

      Full review


      Epson’s Stylus CX4700 is an affordable multifunction printer for home and small office users who want top quality document printouts plus scanning and copying facilities and the ability to print photos. It uses four individually packed DURABrite Ultra pigment inks, which promise prints that will last up to 120 years and offers a top ‘optimised’ resolution of 5760dpi with Resolution Performance Management (RPM) technology.

      Dual card slots on the left front panel accept all popular memory cards for direct printing of image files. No viewing screen is provided, so users must either print an index of shots on the card or print all images. No on-board editing facilities are provided, either, although users have a limited selection of paper sizes to choose from, and the choice between plain and photo papers when printing directly from cards or via PictBridge from a USB-linked digital camera. Only JPEG files can be printed directly.

      PC-based printing and scanning are also provided, giving users the full range of paper choices and output sizes the printer supports. As a scanner/copier, the CX4700 is designed solely for reflection scanning (film scanning is not supported). However, it does offer good scan-to-print facilities for documents and photos and can produce true BorderFree prints and copies from 10 x 15cm, 12.7 x 17.8cm and A4 originals as well as a range of enlargements via the ‘Fit to Page’ button on the control panel. This nifty control automatically detects the size of the original document or photo and enlarges it to fill the selected paper size. Some cropping occurs when the aspect ratios of the original and the output differ.

      It took six minutes and 35 seconds to produce an A4 photo print and just under three minutes for a snapshot-sized print. Print quality for documents was excellent, while photo prints are best classed as acceptable. Imatest showed the gamut of the DURABrite Ultra pigment inks to be slightly smaller than that of the Canon MP800, although the low-density browns and reds had similar gamut plots, suggesting skin tones would be reproduced in the same way. Hue compression was evident in the greenish-blue and blue-purple colour bands, with significant blocking-up of the deepest tones and some compression of highlights. These deficiencies showed up as a slight loss of mid-level greens and purplish blues in prints. Minor texturing was evident on the surface of glossy prints but no sign of metamerism was detected. Prints were dry as they emerged from the printer and highly resistant to smearing and minor abrasions.

      We were able to produce the equivalent of 36 A4 prints before the first ink cartridge was depleted and estimate a per-print cost of approximately $2.25 per A4 print and 55 cents per snapshot-sized print on Epson’s DURABrite photo paper. According to Wilhelm Research Institute testing, the DURABrite ink/paper combination produces prints that are lightfast for up to 120 years. They are also water and smudge resistant.

      Scanning with the CX4700 was easy and relatively fast and the top resolution of 1200dpi is adequate for enlarging snapshot-sized prints to A4 size. It took only 11 seconds to produce a preview of an A4 image and 32 seconds to scan it into editing software. A greyscale scan from a B&W original of the same size took less than 10 seconds. Overall scanning quality was good, although scans of stippled paper showed the underlying stippling, which was slightly more visible than film grain.

      As a copier, the CX4700 is easy to use, with simple button controls for direct copying and a nifty ‘fit-to-page’ button that senses the size of the document being copied and either enlarges or reduces it to fit the selected output size. In standalone copy mode, it can reproduce documents at between 1.4 and 3.2 copies per minute and make border-free copies of photo prints on photo paper in 6 x 4-inch, 5 x 7-inch or A4 size. Copied prints showed some compression in tonal range when compared with the originals.

      The bundled Epson Creativity Suite software contains a useful collection of general-purpose tools that are easy to use, with several levels of functionality provided for printing and scanning. Epson is offering a two-year warranty for CX4700 printers purchased before 28 February 2006. [27]


      The above plot shows the limited colour gamut of the CX4700’s colour output. We can’t explain the jaggedness of the plot lines, nor the large beige dot in the centre of the plot but, when you look at the hue plot below, we feel they may have something to do with the high levels of compression in the lightest and darkest tones.


      This plot confirms the findings of the L*a*b colour space plot and shows the compression in both blue/green and blue/purple hues, particularly in the darker tones. It also shows the high compression in the lightest and darkest tones. In an ideal situation, this graph should show evenly-spaced vertical lines to indicate an even distribution of hues and tonal intensities.




      Maximum print resolution: 5760 x 1440 optimised dpi
      Maximum scan resolution: 1200 x 2400dpi
      Colour scanning bit depth: 48 bit input and 24 bit output
      Copying reduction/enlargement: Fit to page
      Interfaces: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, PictBridge, slots for CF, SD/MMC, MS, SM & xD cards
      Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, Letter, Legal, Half Letter, 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″, Envelope
      Ink cartridges: T0621/T0631 black, T0632 cyan, T0633 Magenta, T0634 yellow
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 430 x 181 x 354mm
      Weight: 6.8kg





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      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8
      • Ease of use: 8.5
      • Print Resolution: 8
      • Print Colour Gamut 6.5
      • OVERALL: 8.5