I needed the new printer to be small, wireless and, above all, cheap to run – so that ruled out Lexmark 😉 Having decided on the Epson Stylus SX235W from the UK, here are my thoughts.
Epson Stylus SX235W Review – A quick summary is at the bottom of this article.
The SX235W cost just under £40 – very competitive for an all in one printer/scanner. Of course the cost of the printer itself nowadays is almost irrelevant – it’s the cost of ink cartridges that determines whether a printer is going to prove good value or become a gouging leech on your wallet.
Epson ink prices are very reasonable compared to most competitors (£23 for a standard 3 colour/black multipack) although much cheaper compatible cartridges are readily available – and that’s what I’m using. There is much debate about the use of genuine or compatible ink cartridges – see my separate review of ink cartridges.
Epson call the SX235W a ‘Small in One’ printer which is a clever pun and very true. Not only is it much smaller than standard all in ones but it’s even smaller and lighter than the plain standard printer it replaced. If space is at a premium, Epson’s Small In One range makes perfect sense – other models in this range include the SX435W and SX445W if you are looking for more features.
Specific measurements are: W39 x D30 x H14.5 cm. Weight is 4.1 Kg.
- All In One – Printer, Scanner and Photocopier
- Wireless or USB interface (as usual, no USB cable provided)
- Small footprint – saves desk space
- Compatible with Epson iPrint – lets you print photos and documents wirelessly from smartphones and tablets using the free iPrint app – Android iPrint app here and iPhone/iPad app here.
- Individual inks – 3 colour cartridges and 1 black for individual replacement to save money
- Print Speed – supposedly up to 30 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome or 15 ppm for colour. As with all printer manufacturer speeds, take these figures with a huge bucket of salt! Back here on planet Earth, I average about 5 ppm for black and 1 ppm for black and colour mixed text/graphics. Printing an A4 colour photo at high quality takes several minutes – time to put the kettle on.
- Feed tray – up to 100 sheets of paper
- Compatibility – Windows and Mac OS X. Linux printer driver available from Epson website here – search Linux forums for scanner support, various options available
- No LCD display – but the 6 buttons on the front panel minimize the need for a display. The buttons are for power on/off, Wireless on/off, network status printout, cancel job, black copy and colour copy.
- No memory card (or USB) socket for direct printing without the need of a computer – no great loss for people who edit their photos on a computer first anyway, or print from a phone/tablet directly via iPrint.
Installation is straightforward using the supplied CD – choose USB or wireless connection at the end of the process. For wireless connections: if your wireless router does not have WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) you will need a USB cable temporarily to configure the printer on the network. If your router does have WPS then you shouldn’t need a cable as wireless network setup will be automatic.
The start of the installation allows you to pick and choose which additional software you want installed.
Additional Software Included:
Abbyy FineReader Sprint (optional) – one click OCR and conversion utility that instantly turns your paper documents into various electronic formats, including Microsoft Word, Excel and searchable PDF.
Epson Easy PhotoPrint (optional) – allows you to easily layout and print digital images on various kinds of paper.
Epson Scan (required) – directly controls all of the features of the scanner. Scan images in colour, grayscale, or black and white. TWAIN interface.
Epson Event Manager, Epson Manual, Epson Driver Update – optional but recommended.
Overall print quality is good.
Easy set up – USB or wireless connection.
Small footprint saves space.
Individual colour ink cartridges avoid expensive waste.
Cheap to buy. Genuine Epson ink cartridges are reasonably priced. Cheaper compatible inks widely available if required.
Photo quality is better than expected for a basic printer that is not aimed at photo printing.
Free Epson iPrint app allows direct printing from Android or iOS phones and tablets.
Draft print saves a lot of ink but only because it is so faint – this makes it very hard to read (see bad points below).
Fairly slow printing – ok as long as you don’t plan to print lots of documents every day. Acceptable for home or SOHO use but not for a larger office.
Draft print is extremely faint and uses a different font to normal text – ok for draft notes but I wouldn’t send it to anyone else or use in business. A bit of a con by Epson to make you use standard print (and therefore more ink) instead?
The scanner lid hinges don’t lift up which makes it more difficult to scan from larger items e.g. a hardback book.
Overall the Epson SX235W is an excellent cheap printer. It includes wireless, it’s an All In One, it’s small and it provides good quality printing at a cheap price.
Keen photo printing users may want to look elsewhere but for basic home and SOHO use with occasional photo prints it does the job very well.
The slowish printing speed isn’t as much of a concern unless you regularly print high volumes (in which case a laser printer may be worth considering) and the lack of an LCD screen isn’t a major issue – if you’re using wireless the odds are that you won’t be sat next to the printer anyway so an LCD screen would be somewhat redundant…