Epson Stylus Photo 900

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Epson Stylus Photo 900

The best direct-to-disc printer we've looked at - Epson's 950 - now has a companion that costs around half the price. We check out the newcomer, the 900, to see how it compares

Having been impressed with the direct-to-disc printing capabilities of Epson's Stylus Photo 950, we were keen to see if the standard could be maintained by its little brother, the Stylus Photo 900. This costs £149.99 - some £145 less than the 950 - and is also £75 less than the Odixion DigiPrinter Universal and only about £75 more than TDK's dedicated thermal disc printer, the LPCW-50, which can now be had for under £75.
Although the 900 isn't expensive, it's worth noting that there is, in effect, no price competition between UK retailers. The Dixons Store Group has a UK monopoly, so the 900 is only available in DSG outlets - Dixons, Currys and PC World - where, shock horror, prices are identical.
In testing the 900, we're focusing mainly on its direct-to-disc printing, which will be its big attraction to CV readers. Even so, we've not totally ignored its paper-printing capabilities. When we received the 900, it was bundled with two inkjet printable CDs - TDK CD-R80s. However, it looks as though Epson will instead be including Verbatim CD-Rs and, by a happy coincidence, it was Verbatim media that we used for most of our tests.
Conclusion
We were left hacked off by problems with off-centre disc prints, and by the fact that Epson provides no decent paper manual and then scatters instructions all over the PC's hard disk. Even so, the 900 is good value compared with its big brother, the 950, and gives far better results than the Odixion and TDK printers.
Lots of people are going to buy a 900 and be very happy with it - for discs and for printing photos and other material. But we can't help thinking that printing accurately onto a CD or DVD isn't exactly rocket science, and that, if this is as good as it gets, then printer makers aren't trying hard enough.

Yianni Kyriacou

Read the full feature in November 2003's Computer Video magazine.

 

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