Imaging specialist Epson has launched the Stylus Office BX925FWD, its flagship network-ready 4-in-1 duplex multifunction printer (MFP) designed for demanding small businesses.

Epson is pitching the BX925FWD as a “super-fast, low-maintenance” machine that promises laser-like printing at inkjet prices. It also offers colour scanning, copying and faxing independently from a computer.

Both Windows and Mac compatible, the impressive looking BX925FWD is no slouch but it’s not the fastest printer on the block with claimed output speeds of 15ppm mono and 9.2ppm colour – or even 38ppm in draft mode.

Epson’s marketing department is going to town on the economic and environmental benefits of inkjet technology for businesses, but you should take this with a pinch of salt. Claiming colour costs are up to 50% lower than laser competitors, my personal experience with Epson’s Stylus Office BX625FWD indicates otherwise.

On the plus side there’s still the choice of cartridge sizes, in particular Epson’s XL Stag ink series, for high-volume, low-cost printing.

Meanwhile, automatic double-sided printing can cut paper usage and ENERGY STAR certification means the machine has excellent power efficiency to further help reduce bills and its environmental impact. Multiple users can connect to the BX925FWD via Ethernet or 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. WPA2 encryption provides additional reassurance over any safety concerns, making it ideal for the small business.

A large touch-panel with an integrated 8.9cm touch-screen should make operating the unit easier than the BX625FWD. The BX925FWD also reduces the time spent refilling paper with its front-loading dual paper trays (500 A4-sheet capacity), one of which can be used for specialist media such as glossy paper for extra flexibility.

The Epson Stylus Office BX925FWD will be available from 1st March 2011 with a recommended retail price of £216.66 (ex. VAT).