The RX700 is the flagship model in Epson's new range of all-in-one printers (the other three are the RX 600, 620 and the RX640) and as such offers the most comprehensive set of tools in the range.

For starters you get 5760 x 1440dpi print resolution, there’s a flatbed scanner offering up to 3200 x 6400ppi resolution complete with a 35mm transparency (slide film and negatives) scanner catering to strips of six unmounted frames or four mounted slides. As well as the transparency hood the RX700 offers built in copier functionality able to produce copies up to photo quality standard.

All the main features are easy to get at and use, though the use of icons without text for buttons makes it a tad less friendly mitigated somewhat by the extremely good 2.5-inch PhotoFine colour screen that has a great set of easy to understand menus.

Another neat touch is the printer’s six ink tanks are installed/replaced through a front-loading slot, no longer do you have to lift the scanner lid to swap the inks. Now you can replace each tank as it becomes empty and you’re off again.

Another front-loading feature is the built-in memory card reader for all the main card types including CF Type I/II including Microdrives, xD-Picture Card, SD/MMC cards (MiniSD with an optional adapter), and SmartMedia, MagicGate Memory Stick, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro although Pro Duo and Duo cards need an adapter also.

CD and DVD printing is included via an special disc tray and special Print CD software, which accompanies a suit of neat software including Easy Photo Fix for reducing dust and scratches on film scans for example or restoring faded colours.

CDs and DVDs load into the special tray and the RX700 prints them using the special templates included in the Print CD software. Printing pictures can be achieved through various methods. Printing directly from a memory card you can use the 700’s screen to review and select the images you want to print; you can print directly from a compatible (PictBridge or USB Direct Print capable) digital camera. With an optional Bluetooth adapter you can print directly from cameras and camera phones via the link as well, making the RX700 even more versatile.

In terms of photo printing you have several avenues open to you, you can plug in a memory card and using the large flip-up 2.5-inch colour screen, select and print directly from it; you can even carry out minor edits on the RX700 prior top printing if you wish, including a cropping or resizing on the fly for example.

If printing from a memory card, you can first print an index sheet of the images, then, by colouring in small ovals under each thumbnail with a pen you can select which images you want to print and the size of the print. Then scanning the marked up index sheet in the RX700 and it will process the print instructions based on the scanned data from the thumbs with filled in ovals identifying each image to be printed.

Alternatively, you can print via a PC in the "usual" way via software such as Photoshop, selecting the paper type, print quality and colour options from the easy to use print driver options.

Whether scanning flat originals or slides and negatives produced excellent quality scans, with film scans easily as good as some less expensive dedicated film scanners on the market that would cost far more than the combined tools found here in the RX700.

Like the printer’s excellent printer output, scan quality shows the RX700 is not a compromise of its combined talents but a complimentary set of tools that allow superb results no matter what your task.

There’s couple of downsides though, one is particularly evident when printing at the RX700’s top RPM Photo mode where it is quite slow to print a borderless A4 print, taking around 12-minutes to produce the finished article. The quality of the print output makes it worth the wait but it’s worth bearing in mind if speedy top quality is more your thing.

Another minor niggle centres on the dual paper feed slots. The dual slots mean you can load two types of paper (say plain in the top feeder and glossy photo paper in the front feeder), which is great. But the tray selected for the current job is not stored, so you need to remember to select the correct tray depending on the job in hand of if you mix print jobs in a queue. A way to preassign the paper feeders and then stick to them would be great.

Verdict

A quality scanner and printer with copier functionality makes lots of sense for anyone with limited work space in the home or the office and while the footprint of the RX700 is not the smallest, it packs a great output/input quality punch.

The RX700 provides an excellent balance between productivity and quality, particularly at this price and should be near the top of your list if you’re in the market for any of this devices three main attributes.