Product Review: Epson Stylus Photo RX580 All-In-One

Epson Stylus Photo RX580 Scanner/ Photo Printer/Copier
Sound Buys Product Review By Don Lindich

An all-in-one scanner/printer/copier is an excellent choice for many home computer users, though some compromises are usually involved. Most all-in-ones don’t perform quite as their standalone counterparts, especially in terms of photographic print quality. A dedicated photo printer usually produces more realistic, sharper, more colorful prints by virtue of a superior ink system that uses six or more colors instead of the usual four.

Epson’s Stylus Photo RX580 offers the convenience of an all-in-one machine with the promise of top-notch photo quality with its high-definition six-color inks and high-resolution printhead. Called Claria, the inks not only produce excellent prints but are long-lasting as well. Epson states a life of 98 years without fade in optimum storage conditions. Given that many people place pictures in places that would be considered less than optimum (such as on a refrigerator door) you may not get that kind of life, but they do promise to last much longer than the year or two most seem to last before fading.

In addition to “Ultra-High Definition Printing”, as Epson calls it, the RX580 has much going for it, such as a bright 2.5 inch LCD for menus and displaying images, memory card readers for most formats, the ability to print directly on CDs and DVDs, Automatic Photo Correction to remove redeye, correct colors, and improve photograph image quality. The scanner has a Full Auto for quick and easy scans as well as manual controls for more advanced users. A restoration mode brings life back to old, faded photographs, a feature sure to be valued by those archiving old images. The copier switches between color and black and white with the press of a button and the clear display with settings makes it unlikely you will copy in color when you mean to copy in black and white. Suggested retail price is $149. A Bluetooth adapter, $40, will allow you to print wirelessly.

The RX580 proved to be easier to set up than other all-in-ones I have used. The setup instruction sheet was simple and straightforward and everything worked perfectly the first time, the whole process taking less than fifteen minutes. Software installation could have been a little better- I would suggest Epson add a progress bar to show what has been installed and what has not, as there are several programs that must be installed to use of the RX580’s features.

I started my testing with the most demanding task, printing photographs, and found the RX580 lived up to its billing. Images printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper were colorful and incredibly sharp- the “Ultra-High Definition” moniker does not seem out of place here. Scenery showed every minute detail rendered with eye-bleeding sharpness and the pictures had a deepness and solidity that added to the realism. Beautiful as they were, I did not think the RX580’s prints quite matched the richness and beauty of those created with my old Epson 2200 professional printer, but the now-discontinued Epson 2200 was a stand-alone professional printer costing around $800. Suffice it to say that the RX580 made a great accounting of itself compared to the best of the best, and from a $149 all-in-one machine the results are simply spectacular.

Moving on to the scanner mode showed another excellent performance. I was especially impressed with the Full Auto mode, which creates a scan and puts the perfectly scanned picture in a folder with a single mouse click- no adjustments, no cropping, just excellent results quickly. There are two other modes, a Home mode that allows you to select the document type and the RX580 sets itself for optimum quality for the subject. It is well suited for home users, as the name suggests. Professional mode unlocks a full range of adjustments for advanced users to tweak to their heart’s content.

As a copier, it was a copier, plain and simple. Just put the document on the glass, select color or black and white, and press the button. Copies were clean and there was nothing to complain about.

All in all, the RX580 strikes me as a perfect choice for most anyone needing a printer or all-in-one device. Photographic print quality is excellent, the scanner is capable and its plethora of capabilities from CD printing to photo restoration all make it a versatile, high-quality tool like a Swiss Army knife. At its suggested retail price of $149, it is a true bargain. As I was finishing up this review I saw it advertised in Sunday newspaper circulars for only $99 after $50 instant savings. At that price, it is an outright steal and makes pretty much any printer or all-in-one selling for under $100 irrelevant. You can see the Epson Stylus Photo RX580 at www.epson.com.

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