Cheap; good scan quality
Relatively slow; dull colour printing
It doesn’t seem so long ago that my first colour printer cost me hundreds of dollars. Now this Epson NX125 promises to print, scan and copy for well under the hundred-dollar mark. So just how multifunction can $79 buy you these days, and is it any good? Well, it’s okay.
The setup saga
Initially, I thought setting up the Epson was as easy as I’ve experienced with a printer in a long time. I plugged it in, Snow Leopard found the drivers, and it was all ready to go within a matter of minutes. I tried printing a document, and it worked fine, but there were lots of horizontal white bands through the text. I figured this was an alignment problem, so thought I’d install the software that comes with the NX125 to get it sorted.
That’s where I ran into troubles. Despite Snow Leopard being on the market for more than a year, and probably being the most common Mac operating system, the NX125 software doesn’t support OS X 10.6 out of the box.
The installer automatically directed me to the Epson website to download compatible software. Unfortunately, said software wasn’t available. So, as I often have to when installing printers or scanners on my Mac, I went trawling the internet for the right download. Thankfully the US Epson site had the goods.
While the install process was still rather messy – it ran through four different installers to set up each component – I eventually got everything going and went searching for the print utility. And (spoiler alert), it just gets worse. I tried five times to align the black printhead with no luck. Every other test was fine, but I just couldn’t get the black aligned. I tried printing another document, and again, I found myself looking at the lovechild of a text document and a barcode.
I then cleaned the print heads and replaced the black cartridge – not quite what I expected from a new printer, but at least it sorted out the problems.
The NX125 does a relatively good job, printing very readable text and clear, yet somewhat washed out colours. It’s not the fastest printer in the world, but at $79, it’s perfectly acceptable for the kids’ school assignments or printing the odd ticket from the internet. If you want to print photos, this won’t be the printer for you. However, you should check out the upcoming October issue of Australian Macworld magazine, where we feature inkjet photo printers in our Lab Test.
If your printing is of the occasional variety, and you sometimes need colour, then the NX125 is perfectly good for your needs. Cartridges are also reasonable value at $13 for an economy capacity or $19 for a standard one. Each colour (cyan, yellow, magenta, black) has a separate cartridge so you won’t be wasting all your magenta if you happen to print a lot of yellow.
So what about scanning and copying? This is, after all, a multifunction unit.
Scan and copy
Here’s where the story changes: the copying function is a complete surprise. Whilst a copied document is still a fairly dull affair print-wise, when I photocopied an image I had printed on the NX125, the copy and the original looked identical. Copies of photos and professionally printed documents weren’t quite so good, but were still very clear. They were washed out (because of the general print quality) and had a pinkish tint – though were well within what I would expect at this price range. If you need a cheap colour photocopier, and have the time to get this working properly, it will definitely meet your needs.
The scanning too is quick and high quality, with respectable colour reproduction. It’s easily comparable to the portable Doxie scanner I reviewed recently. Unless you’re needing to scan images to be professionally printed, the NX125 will suit you just fine.
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
Your setup results might vary, but assuming you get the NX125 working without too much hassle, the results are all respectable for this price range. Printing is fine for low-volume users, but if you’re looking to print a lot or need high quality images, you’re going to have to spend a bit more upfront. Its scanning and copying abilities make this a great buy if you’re looking for a printer under the hundred-dollar mark and want to be able to do it all.