It's a rarity to come across a printer that has such a strong design aesthetic as the TX700. Coming from the same design house that gave us Pinocchio washing lines and mouse-shaped objets d'art, the Castiglione Morelli drafted printer is definitely a little different from the rest of the pack.
Sporting a piano black finish on the upper half, and a matte black plastic base, the TX700 also houses a control panel at the front which pops out from the body and tilts up and down. Backlit buttons and the vivid 2.5-inch colour LCD screen are equally as sexy as their surrounds. A standard array of SD/Memory Stick/xD/Compact Flash slots sit at the bottom right, completing the rest of the specs.
Its rather cumbersome size is the one disadvantage to all the clean lines — the TX700 seems to spread out rather than up, making its footprint a rather large 44cm across by 38cm deep.
With support for CD and DVD printing, plus wireless and Ethernet connectivity, the TX700 is positioning itself as a do-it-all unit. Certainly, it's a multifunction in the sense that it can print, scan and copy, but the addition of these other extras have the potential to position it as a leading printer in its class.
The double paper trays (for smaller 10x15cm prints on top and A4/Legal on the bottom) are positioned at the front of the device, though they feel rather flimsy because of their thin construction. This is a bit of a letdown compared to the build quality of the rest of the printer. The optional duplexer, which can be attached to the back of the unit, is a separate purchase.
Using Epson's proprietary Claria ink tanks, the TX700 has six dedicated colours that need replacing. More on this later.
Epson claimed some incredibly fast print speeds for this machine — like 10 seconds for a 10x15cm photo print, so naturally we put our sceptic's hat on and put it to the test.
The set-up process was relatively straightforward, though the bundled software was a little confusing to use at first. Documentation for installation is kept to a minimum; however, there is a substantial brochure provided, which will step you through the process of using the printer as a stand-alone unit.
We particularly enjoyed how there were snap-to-print levers in the paper trays, with common paper sizes marked on them ready to line up your pages properly. Unfortunately, the novelty soon wore off when we observed the flimsiness of the paper trays themselves. We even found that our unit came with paper lodged at the back from the pages (and tray) being inserted incorrectly.