All-in-One printer group test
There is no shortage of photo-capable printers on the market. In fact you can pick up an entry-level model these days for next to nothing which will produce perfectly nice 6x4in prints. However, having spent your hard earned cash on a decent camera and lenses you are probably going to want something that will do justice to your equipment by producing bigger, better output.
To that end, in the coming weeks and months we will be looking at a variety of 'photo quality' and 'photo capable' printers which we consider to be worthy of serious consideration. Just to clarify what we actually mean by photo capable and photo quality, Photo capable printers usually have four colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, referred to as CMYK. Photo capable printers are great for day to day printing a variety of document types, including text, graphics and photos. Photo quality printers, on the other hand, generally include six or more inks, which may include Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Light Magenta and Black. Some of the more advanced printers, which use 8 inks or more, may also include light black inks for cast-free monochrome printing. To achieve the best quality photos of course, you will also need premium photo quality media (otherwise known as paper).
To find out more about the basics of choosing a printer, click here to read our beginners guide to printers.
This group test is the first in a series of printer reviews, an in it we will be taking a look at three All-in-One or Multifunction printers: The Canon Pixma MG8120 (MG8150 outside of the US), the Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD and the HP Photosmart Premium C310. Each of these units features a scanner that can be used for direct copying of prints or documents and memory card readers for direct printing without the need for a computer to be connected. Speaking of not having a need for a computer, all three of these printers also feature touch-sensitive LCD displays.
In this test we use the following images as test subjects. Here you can download high-quality JPEG versions of the original images for comparison with the output versions.
|Print test image||Scanning test image|
|HP PhotoSmart Premium C310a||Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD|
|Number of inks|| 6 (5 for photo prints)|| 5 (4 for photo prints)|| 6|
|Print resolution|| 9600 x 2400 dpi|| 9600 x 2400 dpi|| 5760 x 1440 dpi|
|Print speed (Color)|| 9.3 ipm*|| 32 ppm / 8 ipm*|| 40 ppm / 9 ipm*|
|Print speed (Mono)|| 12.5 ipm*|| 33 ppm / 11 ipm*|| 40 ppm / 9.5 ipm*|
|Print time (Photo)|| 20 sec (10x15 cm)|| 16 sec (10x15 cm)|| 10 sec (6x4")|
|CD/DVD label printing?|| Yes|| No|| Yes|
|Display/control screen size|| 3.5" (8.8cm) touch screen|| 4.3" (10.9cm) touch screen|| 2.5" (6.3cm) touch screen|
|Ethernet Network Connection|| Yes|| No|| Yes|
|Double-sided (duplex) printing?|| Yes|| No|| Yes|
|Scanning resolution|| 4800 x 4800 dpi|| 1200 x 1200 dpi|| 2400 x 4800 dpi|
|Transparency adaptor|| Yes|| No|| No|
|Memory card types|| SD/MMC
xD Picture card
xD Picture card
*ipm is an ISO standard for rating print speed, designed to give a more accurate and directly comparable impression of printing time. Sadly it cannot easily be compared to the pages per minute (ppm) figure that tends to be subject to a host of caveats that allow the printer to appear in the best possible light.