Home all-in-ones with fax and all the trimmings are fairly thin on the ground for under £100, but at online prices Epson’s WorkForce WF-2650DWF can be found below £90. It offers duplex print and wireless connection, so is compatible with a wide variety of devices, including tablets and phones.
SEE ALSO: Best Wi-Fi Extenders Round-up
Not one of the most stylish designs to come out of a printer maker, it looks decidedly last year, but is still pretty functional. A 30-sheet Automatic Document Feed (ADF) sits on top of the scanner and a fixed, nearly full-width control panel is angled at the front.
Controls are well laid out, with physical, not touch buttons throughout and although there’s a four-line LCD panel, it’s paper white, rather than colour. It’s well used though, for displaying menus and status messages.
Below the control panel, a three-stage telescoping tray pulls out to catch printed pages. This increases the footprint of the machine quite substantially. Under the output tray is a skimpy, 150-sheet feed tray, which can take plain or photo paper.
At the back are sockets for USB, a phone line for the fax connection and an extension handset, if required. There’s no cabled network connection, but with Wi-Fi support, it’s straightforward to connect the printer to a wireless network.
This opens up print from AirPrint and from Android devices. It’s also possible to print via Google Cloud Print from devices like Chromebooks, without more conventional connections.
Bundled software includes a copy of Presto! PageManager, which provides document housekeeping as well as OCR for scanned documents. The printer driver is well laid out and provides good control, including draft print and multiple pages per sheet.
Epson rates the WorkForce WF-2650DWF at 13ppm printing mono and 7ppm in colour, both to ISO standards. Our 5-page mono text print gave 8.8ppm, and this increased to 11.2ppm for the 20-page test and 12.5ppm for a 5-page draft print. That really is a draft print though, printed very light.
In colour, the printer managed only 3.8ppm on our five-page text and colour graphics document, so the published figures are rather optimistic. In duplex mode, available as standard on the machine, the printer gave 6.3 sides per minute, on the same 20-page sample.
A single page colour copy took 32 seconds and a five-page mono one took 1 minute 20 seconds. 15 x 10cm photo prints took between 1 minute 14 seconds and 1 minute 20 seconds, depending on source.
Print quality is better than we’ve seen from some Epson machines, with less spread of the ink into the paper fibres. This gives sharper, cleaner text and colour graphics are also well reproduced. There is some slight banding in solid areas of fill, but registration of text over colour is good.
Photo prints, as we normally see from Epson, are very good with clear detail, smooth colour transitions and natural colours. There is some loss of detail in darker shades, though.
A word about the noise level. We’ve come to expect inkjet printers to produce sound levels in the range 60-65dBA at 0.5m when printing. We measure at 0.5m, rather than 1m, as it’s rare to have a desktop printer a full metre from your ear. Most of that sound comes from the paper feed mechanism when loading a new sheet, as non-contact, inkjet printing itself is quiet.
This printer though, peaked at levels of 75dBA and given that sound levels are measured logarithmically, that equates to 10 times louder than a printer generating 65dBA. It would be hard to answer a phone with this machine printing on the desk beside you.
Using the high yield, XL cartridges gives page costs of 3.6p for mono print and 11.0p for colour, including 0.7p the paper. These costs are not unprecedented in this price bracket, but there are cheaper machines to run.
One of these is the Canon PIXMA MX475, which manages costs of 2.9p and 6.1p for mono and colour, respectively. It also comes in nearly £20 cheaper than this Epson, though it can’t print duplex. HP’s OfficeJet 4630 costs roughly the same to run and does handle duplex pages, also having a front panel USB socket to print from USB drives.
SEE ALSO: Best Laptops Round-up
The WF-5620DWF is a perfectly serviceable, all-in-one home office printer, producing good-quality prints at a reasonable cost. Its main bugbear is its high noise level, which makes it annoying to use as a personal printer on your desk.