The Good Affordable ink; high-quality prints, scans, and copies; prints and copies without a computer; Windows and Mac compatible.
The Bad Faulty scanner lid; hard-to-read control panel; tortoise-speed prints, scans, and copies; software-only faxing; costly live tech support.
The Bottom Line Quality printouts and useful standalone functions trump the flawed design and slow speed of this affordable multifunction, which is a good deal for a home or a modest office.
Epson Stylus CX4600
Epson Stylus CX4600 all-in-one
If the Epson Stylus CX4600 all-in-one were a car, it would resemble a boxy, gray, classic Volvo with a nonturbo engine. Printing and scanning speeds lag far behind this multifunction printer's vendor-rated 15 pages per minute (ppm) for black or color text (not a terribly unusual gap). This Epson printed more slowly than is competitors, but scanned at an average pace.Behind these problems, however, lies a reliable, four-color inkjet multifunction with exceptional print quality--a decent deal when you consider the relatively low $130 price of this scaled-down version of the highly-rated . The CX4600's standalone capabilities as a copier and media card reader, plus its range of text options, image editing tools, and affordable ink, make it a useful addition to a small office, home office, or dorm room at a reasonable cost. A bargain shopper might even prefer it to the , which produces lesser scans and prints. Except for its square looks, the Epson Stylus CX4600 favorably resembles its pricier, more stylish cousin, the $200 . Both machines share moderate dimensions, at 17.8 by 23 by 12 inches (WDH) with their paper trays extended, and 18.8 pounds without the four ink cartridges installed. Like the CX6600, the CX4600 connects to Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, or XP and to Mac OS 8.6 or later via a cable, not included, that plugs into the USB 2.0 port in the back of the machine near the power cord.
The Epson Stylus CX4600 announced its arrival to us when we pulled it out of the box and the scanner lid clattered to the floor. Yes, it's good to have a detachable scanner lid to fit thick books on the glass, but it would help if the lid locked into place when attached. The control panel buttons, located in a flat strip to the left of the scanner lid, can be difficult to read and reach unless you lean over them.
Three slots located below the CX4600's control panel support the same memory cards as its souped-up sibling: CompactFlash I and II, Sony Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MagicGate Memory Stick, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Hitachi Microdrive, and xD-Picture Card. You can also use Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick Pro Duo, which come with an adapter. To use a Mini Secure Digital Card, you'll have to buy an adapter separately.
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