When Epson first introduced its range of WorkForce Pro inkjet all-in-ones, designed to challenge the small workgroup laser printer, we were very positive about the idea. Cheaper page cost, lower power and comparable print speed, particularly in colour, gives you good reason to consider the inkjet option, and quality photo prints and low purchase price add to the offering.
The WF-5620DWF offers duplex printing and scanning, touchscreen control and wireless printing using a four-cartridge system and 250-sheet paper tray.
The WorkForce Pro WF-5620DWF is a substantial machine, not far off the size of an old desktop photocopier and makes use of Epson’s new PrecisionCore print engine.
At the top is a 35-sheet, duplex Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), so you can scan, copy and fax two-sided documents, though each sheet has to make three passes, as the ADF doesn’t have twin scan heads.
The main control panel includes an 88mm touchscreen, which is responsive and easy to use, combined with a number pad for fax dialling and other physical buttons for dedicated functions. Just below the control panel at the right-hand end of the front panel is a USB socket, which can be used for uploading print documents or downloading scanned ones to a USB drive.
At the bottom of the machine is a 250-sheet paper tray, with an output tray which telescopes from the front of the machine, just above. A second 250-sheet paper tray is available as an option. Additionally, an 80-sheet multi-purpose tray at the rear enables print on special media and glossy photo blanks. Sadly, the printer doesn’t auto-detect the paper type or size in any tray.
Four large ink cartridges slot in behind the pull-down front cover. They’re available in three capacities, starting at 800 pages and rising to 4,000, more than equivalent to typical toner yields from similarly priced laser-based machines.
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5620DWF can connect through USB, gigabit Ethernet or wireless link and with the wireless connection comes access to Wi-Fi Direct, AirPrint and remote printing services, such as Google Cloud Print.
Epson claims ISO print speeds of 20ppm for both mono and colour print. In our tests, speeds weren’t far out in mono and our 20-page test document gave a real-world speed of 16.0ppm. This is good, given that we add in the rasterisation time, which the ISO standard doesn’t require.
The shorter, five-page document only managed 10.7ppm and the black text and colour graphics test gave 8.3ppm, but all these speeds are more than respectable for an inkjet and the colour speed is noticeably higher than from most colour lasers at anywhere near this price.
A five-page copy took 45s from the ADF and a 10-side document copied duplex took a respectable 1 minute 31s. 15 x 10cm photos took around 30s in normal print mode, rising to 47s at best quality. These speeds are very fast for photo prints, though you can’t print borderless photos.
Epson printers, which like Brother’s use a piezoelectric printhead, are normally troubled by ink spread into the paper. Here, though, there’s no noticeable spread at all and text print is as clean and sharp as from the best of the thermal inkjets.
Colours are bright and solid and overlaid text is well registered, with no signs of haloing. Photo prints are well detailed and clean, with natural colours, but with a slight loss of detail in darker, shadowed areas.
A special word is needed for the quality of plain paper photo prints, produced by the PrecisionCore engine. We inadvertently printed a full A4 image on standard multi-use paper and were very impressed with the depth of colour and detail it showed. It makes the printer extra useful, particularly if your workload includes a lot of photo images – estate agents, for example.
Using the highest capacity cartridges available for the machine gives page costs of 2.0p for mono print and 5.7p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. These are very good and compare well with other small office inkjets and laser printers.
All four main printer manufacturers now have competitors for Epson’s WorkForce Pro range and machines such as Canon’s MAXIFY MB2350 (£180) offer similar page costs and speeds, though in this case not the duplex ADF. Brother’s MFC-J5720DW (around £200), doesn’t have the print quality of either of these two, but does offer A3 print, as well as A4.
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The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5620DWF benefits greatly from its new print engine, offering print quality up with the best of its competitors, at good speed and at very reasonable cost. Its feature set is also well composed and the facility to print, copy, scan and fax double-sided can help save a lot in paper costs.