Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790DWF review: Cheaper than a laser
Average print quality but this well-featured and affordable colour inkjet MFP delivers great cloud support and running costs
Epson's WorkForce Pro family of inkjet A4 MFPs pile the pressure on lasers by claiming substantially lower printing costs and a more planet-friendly outlook. On review is the top-dog WF-C5790DWF which delivers print, copy, fax and scan functions, teams them up with wired, wireless and NFC support and offers a 24ppm print speed.
It employs Epson's replaceable ink pack system (RIPS) where the ink bags slot into receptacles in the printer's base. We can't argue with Epson's cost claims as the high-capacity bags deliver a mono page for 1.1p and colour one for 4.9p - easily half that of similarly-priced lasers.
Epson offers three black ink capacities of 3K, 5K and 10K pages plus 3K and 5K pages for colour. There's hardly any difference between them for printing costs so it's more a matter of convenience as the larger ones won't need changing so often.
It's easy on the utility supply as we measured it consuming a mere 22W when printing. We find most lasers suck up between 500W and 750W when printing so Epson will have a positive impact on your energy bill.
The WF-C5790DWF is easy to deploy, too; Epson's installation routine spotted it on our network and installed all Windows 10 drivers. A firmware update utility ensured it was running the latest version and then proceeded to load desktop fax and scan utilities plus a browser plug-in.
For network connectivity, you must choose between wired and wireless as they can't both be active. The modes are easily selected in the MFP's tidy web interface and we had no issues printing from our iPad over AirPrint and WiFi Direct either.
We used Epson's iPrint iOS app on our iPad to remotely pull in scans and print files and photos. It provides a status view of consumables and allowed us to send files to the printer straight from our Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive accounts.
Epson's Connect service assigns an email address to the MFP allowing remote users to email print jobs to it as attachments. The Connect portal offers a range of access controls such as blocking photo paper usage or approved sender lists and after we used it create a scan to Dropbox destination, it appeared in the MFP's control panel for local selection.
The MFP meets the quoted speeds for draft and standard driver modes with our 24-page Word document despatched in 60 seconds but in high mode, speed fell drastically to 6.2ppm. It was the same story for our 24-page DTP-style colour document which returned 24ppm and 6ppm for standard and high modes.
Duplexing the 24-page Word document returned 16ppm but it's a noisy affair with the SPLnFFT iOS app measuring between 65-69dB from one metre away. The flatbed scanner delivers great output quality while its 50-age ADF returned 14.6ppm for a single-sided copy of 10 pages. Speed for our double-sided copy test dropped markedly to 5ppm but the scanner is a true duplex model and scans both sides of a page in one pass.
Epson makes a good fist of general office documents. Fonts down to 6pts are clean and sharp with no hint of dusting around characters. Likewise, we found mono photos exhibited good levels of detail even in darker areas - although the best results were achieved with heavier (and more expensive) 100gsm paper.
Colour photos using the high mode were also very detailed with no hint of banding in backgrounds, although they lacked the characteristic vibrancy lasers are capable of. Our colour performance chart confirmed this as C, Y and M solid colour blocks on plain and semi-gloss photo paper looked slightly pallid.
Colour quality is underwhelming but the WorkForce Pro WF-C5790DWF is still a great choice for small businesses that want a well-featured inkjet MFP at a low price. It's easy to deploy and use, cloud support is top-notch and it costs a lot less to run than a laser.
Colour quality is underwhelming but the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790DWF is still a great choice for small businesses that want a well-featured inkjet MFP at a low price. It’s easy to deploy and use, cloud support is top-notch and it costs a lot less to run than a laser.
4,800 x 1,200dpi A4 inkjet MFP, 1,200 x 2,400dpi colour flatbed A4 scanner 24ppm mono/colour 10.9cms colour touchscreen 2 x USB 2 Gigabit 11n wireless NFC 33.6Kbps fax/modem 2 x RJ-11 Duplex 250-sheet input tray 80-sheet MPT 50-page ADF Rec. monthly duty cycle, 2,500 pages 425 x 535 x 357mm (WDH) 18.4kg 1yr on-site service warranty Options: 500-sheet paper tray, £118 ex VAT
RUNNING COSTS Mono (XXL) (10K pages), £109 C, Y, M (XL) (5K pages), £63 each Maintenance box (50K pages), £21 Overall cost per A4 page: mono, 1.1p/colour, 5p
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