Epson Stylus Photo R260
At a Glance
Epson Stylus Photo R260 Inkjet Printer (30 PPM, 5760x1440 DPI, Color, PC/Mac)
CD/DVD printing and great photo output compensate for this model's lackluster text performance.
Except for its ability to print on CD and DVD media, Epson's Stylus Photo R260 might melt into a crowd of generic photo printers. For some users, however, this bonus will outweigh the unit's speed and print-quality shortcomings.
Using the Stylus Photo R260 to print on CD or DVD media is fairly easy: You flip a lever to adjust the output-tray level, carefully slide the CD and its special tray into the input tray, and then print. The disc will need at least 30 minutes to dry. Epson's documentation, which you must read beforehand, misses a few details but is essentially reliable. The company provides software for designing the labels, as well.
The Stylus Photo R260 uses Epson's Claria six-color, dye-based ink system (consisting of black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, and light magenta ink cartridges). Graphics and photos printed promptly, but text came out at the relatively anemic rate of 3.9 pages per minute. Photos printed on glossy paper looked very good; on plain paper, however, the same images looked faded and fuzzy, and text suffered from noticeable feathering and lightness.
The Stylus Photo R260's design mixes simple with tricky. Its control panel has three big buttons, but the symbolic labels were inscrutable to me. The lever on the input tray for switching between regular and CD/DVD printing is unmarked despite being essential to the machine's function--and finicky as well, to judge from all the warnings in the HTML documentation and printed manual.
The Stylus Photo R260 is built for pleasure rather than for business--excelling at CD/DVD and glossy-paper printing, but stumbling on plain-paper printing.