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Memories are made of this...

With its latest inkjet printer launch, Epson proves once again that it is at the forefront of this technology. Merlin John takes a look at the range

Epson has launched its latest inkjet printer aimed at digital camera users, the Stylus Photo 875DC. Its basic printing technology is the same as its two fellow workhorses previously previewed (Stylus Photo 1270 and 870, Online, April 14, page 26), but with one significant addition - a socket for a PC card on the front.

You simply remove the memory card from your digital camera and slot it into the printer. Then Epson's sophisticated PhotoQuicker software automatically comes up on your monitor and holds your hand through the process of printing the pictures in a variety of formats, with extras like titles, times and dates.

Helpfully, it can also take you back through the process stage by stage - much like a browser - in case you change your mind or have made a mistake. There's even a roll holder that slots on to the back of these printers to take a roll of photo-paper for enprints that are such good quality it's difficult to tell them from those you get from high street labs. P> The ease of use and quality of prints have a remarkable effect on computer-phobes. All three printers are excellent - both for photography and regular inkjet printing. Some people criticise Epson for higher than average ink costs, but careful printing should keep ink and media costs to an acceptable level.

If you need quality images at A3 size, and many schools and colleges do, go for the 1270. However, if you are heavily into digital photography (using memory cards), go for the 875 DC. Just make sure that your Mac or PC is fairly recent and has plenty of memory ( if in doubt double-check with your supplier). PhotoQuicker was a tad slow on a first-generation iMac but the results were brilliant. If you have average printing needs with quality photo capability go for the 870.Remember that there are perfectly acceptable alternatives from rivals like Hewlett Packard, Lexmark and Canon and we will be looking at some of these in the coming months. But right now the generally accepted leader for quality in this highly competitive market is Epson.

Epson Stylus Photo 875 DC, Price: RRP pound;271 excluding VAT.

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