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The CX6900F is Epson's latest entry into the multifunction inkjet printer party. Priced at AU$299, it sits in the middle of Epson's multifunction range. However, unlike some of its more expensive brethren it has, in addition to its scanner and copier functions, a built-in colour fax.
Design-wise the CX6900F adheres to the Epson multifunction printer formula of silver plastic on grey. Paper is fed in via a top-loading feeder suitable for 100 sheets. In front of this is a number pad -- primarily used for faxing -- and a smattering of control buttons, plus a slightly larger than A4 scanner. The scanner can be flipped up, allowing you to access the ink cartridges below. Running costs are kept reasonable as there are four individually replaceable cartridges (black, cyan, magenta and yellow) priced from AU$14.50.
On the front, next to the paper exit tray, is a flap concealing slots to read xD, SD/MMC, Smart Media, Memory Stick and CompactFlash cards.
The CX6900F functions as a PC-free fax, copier and photo printer. Using the 1200 x 2400dpi scanner as a copier we managed to copy a colour page in about 2 minutes 30 seconds and a black and white page in about 40 seconds. The CX6900F's 33.6kbps fax is capable of colour faxing, although this seems to be a bit of a gimmick given the glacial transfer rate and the scarcity of colour faxes in use. Also, the lack of a feeder for the scanner may be a hindrance for those who have to fax large documents.
Additionally, users can print straight from their camera (via PictBridge) or from their memory card -- using any of the five types listed above. Prior to printing photos the CX6900F can automatically perform the contrast and colour balance adjustments usually done by users in photo editing software, like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. In reality, though, printing straight from memory card to printer, using the built-in memory card reader, is an exercise in frustration because the Epson only has a single line display. Selecting a photo to print from a memory card requires printing out a thumbnail sheet containing pictographic instructions on what to do next.