Professional printing can't do this as well for anywhere near the same cost.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Epson WorkForce printer works well

November 18, 2012

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard

I've often recommended Epson printers because they're well built and print beautifully. For professional photographers and artists, Epson's pro models are almost essential.

Epson's experience making megabuck ink jet printers for the pros gives the company a huge advantage in the consumer market. I see this kind of spillover in my new WorkForce 845 all-in-one scanner-printer-fax. It prints like the best Epson consumer printers and scans like the best Epson scanners. It faxes like -- well, like a fax machine, I suppose. I've never faxed from it and hope I never have to.

(The fax machine is a truly old turkey, having sprung from a 160-year-old invention. I'd like to see it retire.)

The 845 has more -- an auto-sheet feeder, the ability to print from a memory card and a cool automatically configured wireless setup. It's always available on my home network, even if everything else except the router is turned off. There's a USB connector for those less daring, too. The price is amenable, ranging from $121 to $199 at various Internet discounters.

What sets the WorkForce 845 apart from all the other printers I've owned is its get-to-work nature. It's got two easily refillable paper trays, an automatic sheet feeder on top, the ability to automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper, the most informative (and possibly largest) LCD display I've ever seen on a printer and a clever extra-fat black ink cartridge that looks like a bulldog guarding the puppy-size color ink carts. And the ink seems to last a long time.

Like many of you, I have a laser printer for my home-office printing needs, and it works fine. Most of my non-photo printing is black and white anyway.

But a printing project my wife, Nancy, wanted me to take on left the laser printer in semi-retirement. She wanted hundreds upon hundreds of color brochures printed on high-quality paper, using the 845's two-sided method, and she needed them fast. Up until that time I'd only printed photos (with excellent result, but only if I used Epson or Kodak photo paper) and simple black-and-white or color documents. I'd never done any office-style mass printing with it.

It took a week of spurts whenever I had the time to run more paper through. I printed 400 to 500 brochures, double-sided, on slightly glossy paper ("brochure paper"), each one with a stunning color photo on front and back along with colorful text. Each one was gorgeous. Professional printing can't do this as well for anywhere near the same cost -- probably $200 total in paper and ink for all those classy brochures.

What's more, the WorkForce 845 turned out to be faster than any other printer, ink jet or not, on hand in my computer studio. It spits out completed pages so quickly you'll think something is wrong. The first page will land in the paper catcher before you've pulled your mouse away from the print button.

A note to potential buyers: Epson changes its models often. If you can't find a WorkForce 845, look for a WorkForce WF-3540 instead. It's nearly identical and sells for $149 at Amazon.