Performance

December 23, 2011 by Sarah Meyer Reads (13,351)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service & Support
    • 6
    • Print Quality
    • 6
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance / Print Speed
    • 7
    • Features
    • 6
    • Operational Costs
    • 3
    • Total Score:
    • 5.67
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

PERFORMANCE

Setting up the Stylus NX430
Installing the Epson Stylus NX430 is fairly simple and took less than twenty minutes from start to finish. Following the Start Here guide, you’ll need to unpack the printer, turn on, set the language, install the ink, load paper, choose your connection type and install the software.

I chose to set up the Stylus NX430 over a wireless connection. If you choose this route, you’ll have two installation options: with a USB cord (not provided) or through the Stylus NX430’s control panel. Since the USB cord wasn’t provided, I went ahead and set up the wireless through the control panel, which automatically pops up after the ink cartridges are done aligning. Just select the correct network, punch in the passkey (if applicable) and the printer will do the rest of the work.

Once this is completed, you’ll need to install the software. Insert the provided CD-ROM, select the software you want to install and the wizard will begin. Throughout, you’ll need to confirm settings such as the connection type, type of wireless setup (if you go that route), that the printer is connected, if you want to register and if you want to set up the Epson Connect Email service.

If you choose to set up the Connect Email Service, the wizard will proceed with installing this software. Otherwise you can install at a later date. I would recommend going ahead and installing now, it’s fairly painless, especially if you already have an Epson account. If not, it will let you set one up pretty easily.

Once it’s complete, it will print out a confirmation page and the Stylus NX430 installation is complete.

Ease of Use
Starting with the standalone features, Epson provides a smart touch panel with a 2.5-inch LCD for easy navigation of the Stylus NX430’s main devices – photo print from card reader, scan and copy.

With the built-in card reader, users can edit and print photos from several compatible memory cards including SD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro cards. What was weird is that they didn’t include a front side USB port. I get that Stylus NX430 is a budget friendly printer, but front side USB ports are fairly common these days.

Users can also access extras such as coloring books, photo greeting cards or ruled paper as well as manage print and network settings (and more) through the touch panel.

If you set up Epson’s new Connect Email Print service during the installation, you are set to use this service and can log into Epson Connect to get information on your print log, print settings, approved senders list (a bit of security), suspend/resume service, etc.

If you chose to wait, you’d need to update the firmware. This can be accomplished by selecting the Download Navigator from the Programs menu under EPSON Software. Make sure you select both Epson Connect Printer Setup and Epson Printer Finder before hitting install.

The wizard will run through its updates, etc. and then launch the Epson Connect Printer Setup. Select the appropriate printer, and then select printer registration. If you don’t already have an Epson Connect account, you’ll need to register for one. It’s fairly painless, just punch in your email address (it will be your username), then select a password, time zone, language, etc. and select register.

The Stylus NX430 will then print out a page with your printer’s unique email address (similar to HP’s ePrint service).

Using Epson Connect Email Print service allows users to print from a variety of email services and devices. We tested the Epson Connect Print service with Gmail, Microsoft Office Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail from a PC, Blackberry, iPhone and a Droid. For more information about compatibility, check out the Epson Connect Information page.

Users can also register for Google Cloud Print or Apple AirPrint depending on their devices and preferences.

As I noticed with the Artisan 837 review, the Stylus NX430 is the lacking a home center; Epson just leaves desktop shortcuts for their main programs. Epson also did not include the Epson Easy Photo Print application. Again, I found this strange because it was an easy-to-use application for printing photos combining an easy search for images, editing, layout options and more. It makes Epson all-in-one photo printing products more difficult to use via a PC.

Again, I had trouble getting the Epson Scan software to open with the Stylus NX430. During the Artisan 837 review, I had to uninstall it and then reinstall it. Once I did that, the software worked. But I tried that with the Stylus NX430 to no avail. I finally contacted Epson support for an answer. They suggested I try reinstalling the latest driver available on their site and to double check that the scan settings were set to network. I tried both, with no result. I started to wonder if maybe the software just wasn’t working with my operating system (Windows 7 64-bit) since I could scan from the drive to my PC, but just couldn’t open the Epson Scan software.

During all of this, I received this suggestion via my Epson contact: “Please note that had Epson Scan been preinstalled from previous Epson models, it will not work with the NX430.” And, of course, I just recently reviewed the Epson Artisan 837 so I had pre-installed drivers from that model. At this point, I decided to install the drivers and utilities on my laptop which also runs Windows 7 64-bit and, low and behold, the scan software worked like a dream. I still have no solution for running the scan software on my desktop, but at least I know it’s compatible with Windows 7 64-bit. I will update this review if and when I get it working on my desktop.

Anyways, the Epson Scan offers users four modes: Full Auto, Office, Home and Professional. Full Auto mode will run a basic scan without the need for previewing or adjusting settings.

In Office, you can preview the scan or just scan immediately but everything is treated like a document.

In Home, you choose what sort of image you are scanning, but you have to preview the scan before scanning. But like other AIO scanners we’ve reviewed, the Stylus NX430 can detect multiple images on the scanner and separate them into individual files in Home mode. Professional mode is sort of a combination of the previous two modes with more advanced scan settings.

As always, users can access the printer settings and maintenance through the print properties menu found in the print menu of your browser or word processor.

Print Speeds and Tests
Epson advertises print speeds up to 6.2 ppm in black and 3.2 ppm in color and I found these numbers to be very accurate during our standard print tests. The Stylus NX430 printed our 40-page black and white text document at an average of 6 ppm with a first page out in as fast as 12 seconds. When adding color to the mix, the print speeds slowed down to an average of 3 ppm with a first page out in as fast as 18 seconds.

The Stylus NX430 has a draft mode and it nearly triples the print speeds with an average of 17 ppm, but the quality is lacking. The print outs are a very light gray; difficult to read and definitely not presentation worthy. But if you aren’t worrying about bold print for memos, recipes or directions then the draft mode might be a good option.


Stylus NX430 normal print, left, Stylus NX430 draft print, right

No automatic duplexing on this budget model, but it does offer manual duplexing with a handy little pop up graphic guiding users on how to correctly flip the pages.

The photo quality was decent, albeit slow. It took over two minutes to print a 4×6 image and an average of five minutes to print an 8.5 x 11-inch image – and that wasn’t even in best photo mode.


Epson Stylus NX430 print outs (scanned using the NX430)

As you can see from the sample images above and below, the resolution is good and the details are fairly crisp but the color is lacking, especially compared to the exceptional photo quality seen with the Artisan 837. But you get what you pay for, and I think that the Stylus NX430 does a pretty decent job with photos considering it’s less than $100 and only takes four ink cartridges as opposed to the Artisan 837’s six cartridges.


Original digital image, left, Stylus NX430 print out, right (scanned using the NX430)


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