A good printer is necessary in many situations. Whether you’re in an office environment, or you want to run off some photo prints at home, having a great printer can make all the difference. These days, though, the term “good printer” implies a device that does virtually everything but make you a cup of coffee, served with freshly baked croissants. Those multifunctional devices don’t work for everyone, though… sometimes you need your printer to be a printer, and scanning, copying, faxing and all those other functions are redundant.

Well, the good news is that such a printer exists, and it is just a printer. And, the better news is that because all the other, possibly extraneous, functions have been stripped away, the price tag is really rather reasonable.

The Epson Stylus Office B42WD will meet all your printer needs, provided that they are just printing. Not, of course, that a stripping away of all the extras means a worse quality device. Far from it, in fact. The B42WD prints beautifully, using a sensible four cartridge system that saves money by only needing the required ink cartridges to be replaced, rather than throwing away a composite cartridge that might still have some use purely because one colour has run out. And considering that Epson aren’t the cheapest when it comes to ink cartridges, this is a great idea.

The network-ready B42WD is a great choice for small offices. It can connect to either a wireless or wired network, and performs at a high speed. Additionally, it allows for double sided printing, which saves further costs and is tree-friendly. At around 38 pages per minute, it’s fairly quick, and doesn’t kick up a hell of a racket while it works.

Further costs have been cut by leaving out the fancy LCD display and other things not really needed by a printer that is just a printer. The device is also fairly compact, although there are smaller options on the market. But, at a sub-R1 000 price point, you can make a little space for it.

Aside from the ink process, we also didn’t like the paper tray too much. It seems that Epson need to toughen their trays up in general, but this is not a train smash. You’ll need to work with it carefully, but you won’t need to be overly gentle, either. Just watch what you’re doing, and you’ll be fine!

On the whole, the B42WD is a good option. It might not have a lot of the functions of bigger printers, but if you don’t need them, you’ll be able to save some money with this one. And the print quality is comparable to any other printer, so there’s no problem there. If this is the kind of tool you need, it’s a great option.

Verdict: It’s a good printer, if a printer is all that you need.