Unlike cheaper Epson models it makes a much more usable standalone device: you can run the usual array of maintenance tasks without booting up your PC. But it’s still limited next to other devices with their LCD screens: documents can only be ‘fit-to-page’, draft copies require button combinations, and you’ll have to rely on the index sheet if you want to print photos from a memory card. The sheet also only allows you to select the number of copies, so there’s no red-eye removal or size options.
The number pad is present because the CX6900F can send faxes, with space for 60 speed dials. There’s no ADF, but if you need to send multipage faxes it does allow you to do so by placing each page on the glass when requested. And you should have no problems with the quality of your faxes, as the Epson’s scanner is its most impressive feature. The driver is intuitive to use, and our test scans showed a high level of detail and a level of colour accuracy that most struggled to reproduce.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the CX6900F’s printer, which laboured at a speed of just 2.8ppm for our mono letter – the slowest of the group. And if you think this time and care would produce immaculate results, think again: draft output is broken and pale, while normal text is rough and lacks sharpness. In our graphic documents, white text merged into colour backgrounds and our light-blue tables were speckled.
The CX6900F has no networking features other than the fax, which puts it at a disadvantage for small workgroups. And it might be affordable to buy initially, but a set of cartridges isn’t cheap and give the Epson a relatively high running cost of 15.3c per page. If you need a low-cost all-in-one for office use, push your budget to the $276 Lexmark with its Wi-Fi adapter and faster print engine.
A great scanner, but the poor printer and lack of networking limit its appeal.