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Epson WorkForce WF-3540DTWF review

Simon Handby
20 Jan 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
120
inc VAT

A fully-featured MFP that's ideal for a busy home office or micro business

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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.

Epson WorkForce WF-3540DTWF

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.

Printer driver

The WF-3540DTWF uses a different print driver to Epson's home-focused range. It looks intimidating, but it's effective

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.

Epson WorkForce WF-3540DTWF

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.

Quality interface

Quality settings are changed with a no-nonsense slider

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.

Office scan mode

The Office scan mode is a great example of a simple interface; far better than HP's simplistic offering

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.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Maximum native print resolution5,760x1,440dpi
Max optical resolution1,200x2,400dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.010m 33s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.015m 19s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size308x449x427mm
Weight10.9kg
Noise (in normal use)37dB(A)
Duty cycle12,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight400gsm
Standard paper inputs2
Standard paper input capacity501
Maximum paper inputs2
Maximum paper input capacity501
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes

General

Printer technologypiezo inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Other inkjet features8.9cm colour touchscreen
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£120
Consumable parts and prices£10 each
Price per colour A4 page4.0p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge385 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)Cyan 474 pages, magenta 378 pages, yellow 616 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year carry-in
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.epson.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges4
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges4
Quoted photo durability98 years

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview9s
A4 document at 150dpi11s
A4 document at 300dpi16s
6x4in photo at 600dpi17s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi1m 1s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.09s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.026s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.03m 2s

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingA4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99

Fax Features

Fax memory (maximum mono pages)180