Odixion DigiPrinter Universal test

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Odixion DigiPrinter Universal

Direct-to-disc printing is the way forward for professional looking DIY-authored DVDs. But how does Odixion's printer compare with the more expensive Epson 950?

Odixion's direct-to-disc printer, the £224 DigiPrinter Universal (DP-02), is based on a sub-£60 Canon colour model. It can be used with inkjet-printable discs and also as a conventional paper printer.

Maximum resolution is 2880 x 720dpi (dots per inch) - an improvement over Odixion's previous, Canon S400-based, DP-04, which offered 1440x720dpi. The company also makes a professional standalone model, the DigiPrinter Automatic 60 - aka DigiMatic (DM V2-60) - said to automatically print up to 50 CD or DVD discs at a time at 2400x1200dpi.
For our tests, we used Odixion's own printable Photo Label CD-R discs - rather than more expensive DVD media. These are said to be waterproof and to allow real photo quality printing. Odixion, though, also recommends Mitsui, Verbatim, Philips, Kodak and Hi-Space printable discs.

The DP-02 has an ink droplet size of seven-picolitres, compared with the Epson Stylus Photo 950's two-picolitres. As a result, fine detail can't be expected to be up to the same standard as the Epson. Two Canon S200 ink cartridge types are used - a BCI-24 (black) and a BCI-24C (cyan, magenta and yellow). Each carries a chip to store print data. Unfortunately, the non-refillable cartridges aren't transparent, so the only way to tell if they're empty is to rely on reports from the printer's firmware. The print head accommodates 64 nozzles for black and 24 nozzles for each of the other three colours. The company says that up to 150 discs can be printed in colour before the cartridges run out, but this will of course depend on what's being printed.

As a standard printer, the DP-02 accepts glossy photo paper as well as plain A4, and has a claimed print speed of five pages per minute in black and three in colour. Our tests, though, dealt only with the DP-02's direct-to-disc printing capabilities.

The Odixion is over £100 cheaper than the Epson 950 - a significant saving. But, it isn't purpose-built for disc printing - it's a re-working of an inexpensive (sub-£60) Canon printer - and it shows.

Disc printing problems arose because of the rather dodgy make-over. CD-Rs didn't sit securely in the supplied caddy, which was too flimsy and had to be forced into the back of the printer, displacing the disc. This in turn meant we had to tweak the disc alignment settings in the supplied software, and that we had problems with the disc moving around in the caddy during printing. This is a shame, because the quality of the disc prints was impressive. The prints on Odixion's own Photo Label CD-Rs were colourful, sharp and detailed - though with some artefacts - and dried quickly.

We also weren't happy to see mention of OS X driver compatibility issues for the DP-02 when, in fact, while the Discus software is OS X 10.2 compatible, the drivers only allow for the printer to operate under a Classic environment (OS 9) under OS X - not natively.

We can't recommend the Odixion DigiPrinter as a cheaper alternative to the Epson 950 for printing to DVDs or CDs. Sometimes spending more is money well spent - opting for the Epson is likely to mean fewer wasted discs and less wasted ink, and much better results.

Lisa Keddie

Read the full review in May 2003's Computer Video magazine.



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