Pros: Wi-Fi capability; sleek, textured design; easy to set up and use; compact; smart touch panel; fast print speed; one set of cartridges for documents and photos; great print quality
Cons: Thin output paper tray; no numerical keypad; no automatic duplex printing; only a one-year warranty
The Epson Stylus NX515 ($109.99 with instant rebate) is a multifunction device (MFD) that prints, scans, and copies. It features built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet, a 2.5-inch tilt LCD screen, image enhancement tools, and uses the same standard ink for both documents and photos. It supports printing and scanning over a wireless network, and lets users share the printer among multiple computers.
We liked the sleek black look of the NX515. We especially liked the grainy texture on the document cover and display panel, if only for the fact that it will not leave any fingerprint smudges. At 17.7″ wide, 13.5″ deep, 7.2″ high, and weighing only16 pounds, this all-in-one printer is compact and light. The control panel is located alongside the left side of the printer. It includes a rear-loading feeder guard and output paper tray. However, like the Epson Artisan 800 Wi-Fi printer, the output tray is a bit flimsy. On the plus side, this design feature makes it easy to fold up and hide it inside the printer when not in use. Although we had no issues with the paper tray during our 2-week review period, we wonder whether it can hold up to heavy home or office use.
Setting up the NX515 was easy, and rather quick, taking us about 15 minutes from the time we unpacked the printer. After installing the print cartridges, we followed the Epson Setup Wizard from the printer’s control panel to establish a connection to our Wi-Fi network. Then we installed the printer drivers from the installation CD to our laptop. After running through a series of six steps, the installation was complete.
The NX515 has a large 10″ front touch panel with a 2.5″ color, tilt-screen LCD for selecting, copying, and printing without using a computer. One minor annoyance was a lack of a numerical keypad to type in how many copies we wanted to make. To produce more than one copy without using a computer, users need to manually press the “+” or ” –” symbols to get to the desired count, a tedious endeavor for large copy projects.
Epson boasts that this printer delivers black text speeds up to two times faster than the competition. While the NX515 is not as fast as the Artisan, it still prints black and color text up to 36 pages per minute and 4″ x 6″ photos in as fast as 20 seconds. For a multipurpose printer, we were impressed.
Automatic document feeder
Up to 100 sheets of letter-sized, 80 sheets of matte paper, or 20 sheets of photo paper can be loaded snugly into the Automatic Document Feeder. Just a word of caution: any other paper size, including legal-sized sheets, have to be loaded one sheet at a time. For eco-conscious users looking to conserve paper, two-sided printing is an options, but it is possible with manual feed only. There is no automatic duplex printing.
The touch panel display allows users to print photos directly from one of the printer’s high-speed multipurpose card slots for xD, SD, MemoryStick Pro, and CompactFlash cards, or a PictBridge compatible USB port. Photo printing features include: Auto Photo, Red Eye, and Backlight Correction, Dust Removal, Color Restoration, and standalone BorderFree photo printing in 4″x6″, 5″x7,” and A4 sizes.
This printer holds four cartridges of Epson’s Color DURABrite Ultra Ink, which Epson claims to be smudge, scratch, water, and fade resistant. What’s nice is that it only requires one set of cartridges to print both photos and documents. Again, no problems during our testing phase with either documents or photos. Not only did it print out high-quality photos and documents, but the ink was immediately dry to the touch after printing. We even ran our printed documents under water to test Epson’s water-resistant claim, and sure enough, no smudges. The NX515’s ink comes in the usual four colors: black, magenta, yellow, and cyan. Each standard capacity color cartridge sells for about $12.34 and the black sells for $16.99.
The NX515 features 2400 dpi resolution for high-quality scanning of images and documents. Like the Artisan 800, the NX515 supports the “pull scanning” method over a wireless network. Users who want to scan over a wireless network must use the Epson Scan application that they loaded on their computer/laptop during the initial software installation. The NX515 also offers standalone, one-touch color, and black-and-white copying, with the ability to instantly reduce and enlarge copies from 25 to 400 percent. In all of our tests, it produced clean, crisp copies.
The Stylus NX515 has built-in 802.11b/g, and is compatible with 802.11n. Users can also connect a standard Ethernet cable for wired networking. To test its Wi-Fi capability, wee located the printer about 15 feet away in another room across from our office, and printed and scanned with no problems. We also found that the NX515 printed just as fast over a wireless connection as it did with the wired connection.
Overall, we liked the Epson Stylus NX515. We were impressed with its print quality and performance. It produced nice-looking, quality photos and documents at a fast speed. One minor negative is that unlike the Artisan’s limited two-year warranty, the NX515 only comes with a limited one-year warranty, which includes telephone and e-mail support. But for its current price tag of $109.99 (after a $40 rebate) and its Wi-Fi capability, we found that the Epson Stylus NX515 is an excellent buy for the price.