Epson Workforce Pro WP-4525 DNF review

Reviews 21 Sep, 2011

The Workforce Pro isn't just an inkjet multifunction printer, it's part of Epson's plan to sweep lasers aside in the business market. Masterstroke or utter folly? Simon Handby takes a closer look in our review.

4
Price: 
£165
ex VAT
Verdict: 
The Workforce Pro WP-4525 DNF achieves what it sets out to do: it's a competent MFP that, while it may not match an equivalent laser for durability, outright print speed or quality, comes acceptably close. At the same time it's smaller, quieter, cooler and less power-hungry than a laser, making it ideal for the smaller offices and workgroups it's aimed at. Its strongest card, however, is its running costs, which are far lower than any small workgroup laser we've seen. Alongside products such as HP's Officejet 8000 Enterprise, the WP-4525 DNF makes a compelling argument for inkjets at this end of the market, but we can't help but wonder whether the technology is really ready for the higher-volume applications Epson apparently has in its sights. The bulk, noise and complexity of a laser is far less of an issue in large workgroup and departmental applications, where the technology's high power use is offset by the low cost of bulk printing. It'll take a special inkjet to compete here, but the WP-4525 DNF does suggest that Epson knows what it's doing.

While inkjet technology dominates among the cheapest consumer printers, it's failed to make serious inroads into business applications where the conventional wisdom is that a laser print engine delivers faster, cheaper and – on plain paper at least – superior results. In June, however, Epson announced the new Workforce Pro range of inkjet multifunction peripherals (MFPs), aimed squarely at small workgroups and businesses.

…the range is part of the company's long-term strategy for the business market.

At the time, Epson's business imaging head Andrew Semple told us that the range is part of the company's long-term strategy for the business market, adding that it would be followed by "more products in more and more segments". The WP-4525 DNF could therefore be a small step in a big leap that brings Epson's inkjets into competition with lasers for enterprise customers, so whether or not it is any good also has implications for Epson's entire strategy.

The WP-4525 DNF is somewhat larger than a typical consumer inkjet multifunction, but it's much more compact than even an entry-level workgroup laser device. Its styling and design sits somewhere between the two, managing to combine a robust feel and professional looks with the sort of simple control panel and display that you'd find on a consumer-class device. That's not a bad thing; it's immediately familiar, helping make the MFP easy to set up and use.

The WP-4525 DNF occupies the middle-point of the five-model range. While each has a unique number, the letters that follow it give the best guide to the features that are present. The WP-4525 DNF here has duplex printing, a network port and a 33.6Kbit/s fax modem. The more expensive WP-4535 DWF adds wireless networking, while the range-topping WP-4545 DTWF also gets a second, 250-sheet paper cassette that can be bought as an upgrade for other models for around £70. The WP-4525 DNF has one 250-sheet cassette as standard, along with a sturdy feeling 80-sheet multipurpose tray.

Specifications: 

Maximum print resolution

4,800x1,200dpi

QUOTED PRINT SPEED

Quoted speed, A4 26ppm mono/24ppm colour

TESTED PRINT SPEEDS

First mono page from standby: 8s

25-page mono document (draft) – total time: 1m 31s (16.5ppm)

25-page mono document - total time: 1m 33s (44ppm) (16.1ppm)

24-page colour graphics document - total time: 3m 52s (6.2ppm)

Two 10x8" photos - total time: 5m 10s

Six 6x4" photos – not tested

TESTED SCAN SPEEDS

A4 document Preview: 9s

A4 document 150dpi: 14s

A4 document 300dpi: 20s

6x4" photo 600dpi: 21s

6x4" photo 1,200dpi: 55s

TESTED COPY SPEEDS

A4 document copy mono: 10s

A4 document copy colour: 26s

10-page ADF document copy mono: 1m 48s

10-page ADF document copy colour: 2m 58s

PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL

Standard interfaces: USB2, 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet

Optional interfaces: None

Dimensions (HxWxD): 341x460x420mm

Weight: 13.8kg

Noise: 44dB(A)

Maximum duty cycle (pages per month): 20,000 pages

Power consumption standby: 3W

Power consumption idle: 7W

Power consumption active (copying): 29W

PAPER HANDLING

Maximum paper size: A4/legal

Maximum paper weight: 256gsm

Standard paper inputs (capacity): 2 (330)

Output tray capacity: 150 sheets

Duplex: Yes

GENERAL

Technology: Colour micro piezo inkjet

Language(s): None

Supported operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/7, Windows Server 2003/2008, Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later

Memory: 128MB

Upgrades: 250-sheet paper tray

BUYING INFORMATION

Price: £165 (£198 inc VAT)

Cost per mono A4 page: 0.84p (ex VAT, ISO/IEC 24711)

Cost per colour A4 page: 2.24p (ex VAT, ISO/IEC 24711)

Capacity of supplied ink (pages): Not disclosed

Warranty duration and terms: One-year onsite

Part code: C11CB28301BY