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.
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.
Maximum print resolution
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
Maximum duty cycle (pages per month): 20,000 pages
Power consumption standby: 3W
Power consumption idle: 7W
Power consumption active (copying): 29W
Maximum paper size: A4/legal
Maximum paper weight: 256gsm
Standard paper inputs (capacity): 2 (330)
Output tray capacity: 150 sheets
Technology: Colour micro piezo inkjet
Supported operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/7, Windows Server 2003/2008, Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later
Upgrades: 250-sheet paper tray
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