Epson Workforce Pro WP-4525 DNF review

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.

We've yet to encounter a bad Epson scanner, and the unit fitted to the WP-4525 DNF is excellent.

We've yet to encounter a bad Epson scanner, and the unit fitted to the WP-4525 DNF is excellent. Captured documents were crisp, accurately exposed and faithful to the colours of the originals. Photo scans at 600dpi and above revealed a slight lack of focus, but contrast was preserved among the very darkest and very lightest shades. Images were unusually good for an office-orientated device, making this scanner suitable if needed for more than just low-resolution archiving. It's quite quick, previewing an A4 page in nine seconds and scanning it at 150dpi in 14 seconds.

Epson's TWAIN interface is the best we've used, although the one big omission is the lack of network scanning support at least using the pre-release drivers we had available. On the subject of omissions, there's no PCL or PostScript printing support, either, although Epson has said that this will follow.

So what's our verdict?

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.

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

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