Epson Stylus Photo R200 test and review

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Epson Stylus Photo R200

Hand-written labels do no justice to the effort that goes into producing DVD Video discs. What's needed is something smart and professional looking perhaps produced with a direct-to-disc printer, such as Epson's latest budget offering

Epson's latest direct-to-disc printer, the Stylus Photo R200, goes out at around £89 - that's £60 less than its forerunner, the Stylus Photo 900 yet it offers separate ink cartridges for all six colours and easier disc-loading.
While the 900 produced great-looking discs, we found it tricky to stop printing going off-centre, so we were keen to see if the R200's new disc-loading method resolved that problem. With the R200, discs click into place on a supplied tray that loads into the front of the machine and come out the same way - rather than loading awkwardly at the back and coming out the front. There is a frame to go into the disc tray to hold smaller, 8cm discs, but we couldn't locate any suitable media to try this out.
Most of our testing was confined to disc printing, but we did some paper printing, too. The machine can print to a wide range of papers, but we looked only at photo paper and text printing on plain A4. For the photo tests, we used the matt and gloss photo papers that Epson's PR had supplied us with, but the pack didn't make clear what precise varieties these were.
As standard, the printer comes with the aforementioned disc tray and 8cm-adaptor, plus a CD-shaped print-position cardboard check-disc, a simple A3-format set-up guide, a mains cable, a set of six cartridges and an installation CD. The CD carries printer drivers and a range of Epson software - in Windows and Mac versions, though we only ran the printer on Windows PCs.

Our only significant complaint about the R200 is that printed discs are susceptible to smudging unless spray-protected at additional cost, but this is a problem with all direct-to-disc inkjet printers. Also an issue is the Epson's inability to print more than one disc at a time unaided.
However, the R200 isn't intended for long print runs by pros, and we can't fault the quality of its printing to discs or to photo paper. Results for both were excellent and most users will be thrilled by what they're able to produce. Text printing at higher resolutions was good, too, so the Epson can also be used for general-purpose printing and not just for discs and photographic work - further increasing its appeal.

Yianni Kyriacou

Read the full review in August 2004's Computer Video magazine.


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Epson Stylus Photo R200
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