Epson America announced on Aug. 15, the Epson Stylus C120, which the company claims is "the worlds fastest laser-quality document ink jet printer," plus three new ink-jet multifunction printers.
The four new devices are intended as personal devices, with USB 2.0 ports but no integrated network port. (They could be added through external USB/network adapters available from Epson and other vendors.)
"These printers are designed for executives, SOHO [small office/home office] users and others who need an efficient, productive printer or multifunction for fast-paced, demanding printing needs, especially the C120 with its high printing speed," said Tom Piche, product manager for Epsons Consumer Ink Jet Printers division.
All four devices, and their consumables, are available through direct market resellers, as well as office super-store, other retail outlets, and directly from Epson.
Epsons new Stylus C120, shipping now with a retail price of $89.99, "provides laser-quality black text printing, as well as color printing and photo capabilities," said Piche. "For less than $100, you can get fast black-and-white or color document printing in the office."
"Based on independent third-party tests, the Stylus 120 offers the fastest black text printing, compared to ink jet printers under $160 available as of April 2007, and [is] up to two times faster compared to ink jet printers under $100," Piche said.
In draft mode, the Stylus C120 can print up to 37 pages per minute in black, or 20 pages per minute in color. The Epson 120 uses individual ink cartridges, and uses one standard ink set for documents and photos, avoiding the need to swap cartridges.
According to Epson, the Epson Stylus C120 printer is intended for customers who want to print in mostly black-and-white or color on plain paper, while avoiding the expense of a color laser printer or the no-color limitations of a monochrome laser.
Three New Multifunctions
Epson also introduced three new aggressively-priced multifunctions: the Epson Stylus CX7400, CX8400 and CX9400Fax. The Epson Stylus CX7400, with a retail price of $69.99, and Epson Stylus CX8400, which retails for $99.99, are intended to support "day-to-day business and personal printing, copying and scanning needs that generally involve plain paper," says Piche. Both printers are available now.
According to Epson, the CX7400 will do black-and-white and color text copying and printing at 28 pages per minute or copies per minute, and can print 4 by 6 inch borderless photos in as fast as 27 seconds, and the CX8400 can do up to 32 pages per minute and 30 copies per minute.
The Epson Stylus CX9400Fax, which will ship in October with a price tag of $149.99, also includes a high-speed fax and 30-page Automatic Document Feeder, for high-speed color faxing.
According to Rob Enderle, principle analyst at the Enderle Group, "These products are very good, but theyre not enough better than what HP offers to get someone to switch vendors at the TCO level—ink and supplies, which is where the relationship exists—since most companies are comfortable with their current vendors, with the possible exception of Lexmark, whose recent troubles could lead customers to switch vendors. I think we will need something truly revolutionary to change the relative market share of the vendors."
All three multifunction printers can also be used to print digital photos, and include memory card slots, one-touch color scanning, fit-to-page copying, borderless printing in all popular sizes and Auto Photo Correction with advanced face detection.
All the new machines use Epsons DURABrite Ultra pigment-based ink, which, according to Epson, "produces smudge, water, fade, and highlighter resistant laser-quality text and brilliant color images on both plain and photo paper." According to Piche, a full set of ink cartridges should cost less than $60.
Daniel P. Dern is an independent technology writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.