The home and SOHO segment is fast moving towards all in one MFDs (Multi-Function Devices), rather than going for a separate printer and a scanner. It makes perfect sense, as MFDs can print, scan as well as photocopy in color and grayscale at a simple press of a button. But the one thing that they usually lack in when compared to their standalone counterparts is quality.
The Epson Stylus CX 3700 is not too big when compared to a lot of other MFDs out there, so it won't occupy too much of your desk space. The buttons are well laid out and pretty much self explanatory. There's a button to make a B/W photocopy and another one to make a color copy. You wouldn't even need to connect it to a PC to make that work. Simply put, you probably wouldn't even have to look at the manual to figure this one out.
The printer in the CX 3700 uses separate cartridges for every color, which is a great thing, as you only have to replace the color you run out of at a time. Each color cartridge costs Rs 355 (Rs 395 for black ink), so you're not really spending too much for your prints. Besides the printer gave us a run of 257 pages before it ran out of a single color, which is pretty good for a home printer.
The print quality however was not too impressive. The colors on the printer seemed pretty off, showing a stronger presence of red over all colors. Even black had a distinct reddish tinge to it in maximum quality. Fortunately that reddish tinge doesn't show up too prominently in normal document prints, but if you plan on printing a lot of photos, this shouldn't be your first choice.
Another thing that would keep you off high-quality photo printing is the amount of time it takes. It took us close to 20 minutes to print our A4-sized photo and color tests in the highest quality. There's also an option to print in a high-quality fast mode, which cuts the time down to less than 12 minutes, but there was a slight lack of quality. The difference however was very minor and you wouldn't probably even notice it, unless you're looking out for it.
The detail levels on the prints were not really astounding, but were nothing worth complaining about. In photo prints, the CX 3700 fared pretty well when printing hair, or minor details on objects. It also did a fairly decent job in our font tests.
The scanner on the CX 3700 does a pretty good job of scanning the details of the subject as long as it's perfectly pressed on the scanner bed. If the subject is even slightly raised above the bed, it appears a bit blurry in the scan. This is not really a problem if you're scanning documents, but if you need to scan a 3D object or a paper with high embossing, there may be a problem with the quality.
Another thing we noticed was that all colors appeared a bit darker than usual. This may not be very good for accurate scanning results, but works great when capturing intricate details as a photocopier.
At a price of Rs 5,999, the Epson Stylus CX 3700 is a workhorse. As long as you're not expecting high quality photo prints or scans, this MFD will serve you well for all practical purposes. It's fast with documents, gives your cartridges a good run and is pretty good as a copier. In other words it's great for SOHOs and homes looking for practical usage, but not for the budding artist/photographer.
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