Epson WorkForce WF-3540DTWF review
It's clear at a glance that Epson's WorkForce WP-3540DTWF is aimed at home and micro businesses rather than home use; it's a comparatively big and solidly-built device topped with a bulky ADF that doesn't simply fold away. At its base are two large paper trays that between them can take a ream of plain paper, or a combination of plain paper and letterheads or coated media. There's a further multipurpose input at the rear, and as if that wasn't enough both the printer and ADF are duplex capable, which helps save paper and produce professional double-sided results.
This MFP's main controls comprise a large colour touchscreen flanked by touch-sensitive buttons which light up only when their function is available, which helps to avoid confusion. Three on-screen icons take you to the Copy, Fax or Scan menus, with other functions accessed via a set of smaller icons shown underneath. It's an intuitive and practical system, but we found that we had to use care to tap accurately when navigating the smaller icons. Using the touchscreen to enter our wireless network's password wasn't a problem, though.
As with most other Epson MFPs, this printer's memory card slots default to storage mode, letting you read or write their contents from a connected PC. It's a particularly sensible default for this office-focused device, but there's a good menu system for making direct photo prints if you need to.
Depending on your expectations you might find the results a disappointment. This printer uses pigment-based inks for the best results on plain paper, with the downside that photos don't have the vibrant colours or full-gloss finish available from dye-based inks. But while photos aren't its forte, it produced bold and solid colour graphics on plain paper, and crisp, near-laser-quality black text at the default setting. It didn't hang about, either, rattling off a sheet of text every four seconds and reaching a reasonable 3.3ppm on our mixed colour test.
Photocopies were quick, with a single mono copy taking only nine seconds and a 10-page colour copy taking three minutes using the ADF. The results were good, although skin tones in colour copies took on a slightly green tint. Scans were fast and particularly easy; Epson's excellent TWAIN interface is available here with Auto, Home, Office and Professional modes, each providing a suitable set of features for the target user. The results were far better than average for an office scanner, delivering crisp and detailed photo scans at high resolution as well as on more mundane documents.
This is a great MFP, then, but it's also good value given its high specifications and good performance. Even better, it's cheaper to run than some of Epson's home-orientated devices, with each page of text and graphics costing less than 6p. When printing pages of black text, each should cost less than 1.7p. The WorkForce WP-3540DTWF is perfect for anyone who needs a fast, affordable and robust all-rounder for the office. It's our Business Buy.
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