Many new ranges of printer are only slight enhancements of what’s gone before, but Epson’s Workforce Pro range is a genuinely new departure for the company. The Workforce Pro printers and multifunctions use a new inkjet engine and are designed as a direct replacement for a small office colour laser.
This isn’t the first time a printer company has tried to move inkjets into the low-end laser printer market, but these machines, including the Workforce Pro WP-4535DWF reviewed here, look the part, as well as out-performing equivalent lasers in several important respects. Epson has a vested interested in getting this project right, as it doesn’t make its own laser printers.
This is a robust machine, bearing a striking resemblance to colour laser and LED printers in the same price bracket. A couple of things distinguish it, however, as there's an 80-sheet secondary paper tray at the rear, as well as the 250-sheet cassette at the front. This can be used for photo paper, something you'd be unlikely to need on a toner-based printer.
The output tray is a three-stage telescopic slide which pulls out from the front of the machine, making it rather flimsy and too easy to knock. In contrast the near horizontal Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is surprisingly sleek, particularly when you realise that it's a duplex device, which can scan both sides of a page in one operation.
The control panel includes a 63mm colour LCD display and a numeric pad for fax dialling and there are 60 quick dials available, too. The front-panel USB socket just below the controls is only available for USB drives, not PictBridge cameras, and then only for scanning too. Despite the LCD display, there is no facility for printing from this source.
The machine can be connected via USB, 10/100 Ethernet or wireless and it supports WPS setup, making WiFi very painless. The four ink cartridges slide in behind the pull-down front panel and click into place in what must be the quickest, simplest maintenance operation on any printer.
Epson has included all the necessary support software, including a copy of Epson Scan and a driver which includes useful print presets, covering tasks such as duplex and two-on-one print.