Epson has recently released their new WiFi-enabled WorkForce 840 All-In-One Printer, Copier, Scanner, and Fax Machine. It’s the “World’s Fastest” automatic double-sided ink jet printing solution for the home, small office, or micro-business. It does everything short of preparing a coffee for you. Plus it’s even 32 percent smaller than the leading all-in-one competition.
* Epson WorkForce 840 All-in-One
* One 127 Extra High-capacity Black Ink cartridge (T127120)
* One 127 Extra High-capacity Cyan Ink cartridge (T127220)
* One 127 Extra High-capacity Magenta Ink cartridge (T127320)
* One 127 Extra High-capacity Yellow Ink cartridge (T127420)
* Instruction manual
* CD-ROM containing drivers and bonus software
* Free sample paper pack
* Telephone cord
* Power cable
* USB cable not included
Epson’s Workforce 840 has a very professional and high tech look to it. It’s all black with silver accents, orange-illuminated soft touch buttons, and a 7.8” touch control panel that pivots. There are two paper trays, each can fit 250 sheets of paper (letter or A4), one ream in total. The tray sizes can be adjusted to accommodate different paper sizes. There’s an automatic document feeder which can hold 30 sheets. There’s a color flatbed scanner on the top of the machine which supports automatic two sided scans. On the side of the machine is a series of memory card readers, which support just about every common memory card type. The machine has built in 802.11n WiFi, but also supports a wired ethernet connection or a standard USB 2.0 connection. There’s a standard phone jack in the back for black and white or color faxing. The printer weighs 22lbs and stands about two feet high. There are four print cartridges that need to be installed, they are: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow.
Luckily, you shouldn’t need the “IT Guy” to set up the WorkForce 840. It’s relatively simple, and Epson includes a helpful 8 step guide that takes you from unpacking your printer to setting it up on the computer. The included setup CD includes the installation files for both Mac (10.4.11 and up) and Windows (XP, Vista, 7). If you’re using the wireless option you will first have to use the 840’s touch screen to connect to your WiFi network. After that, the installation on all of my computers went smoothly, the process is user-friendly.
Epson’s WorkForce 840 is rich in features. The WiFi-enabled (802.11n) 840 is a network printer, copier, faxer, and scanner. It doesn’t need to be directly plugged into any computer, and yet all computers on the network can connect and utilize the 840. Even the memory card slots can be accessed from any computer. The 840 supports duplex, or double sided, printing, and it’s supposed to be one of the fastest printers in its class. It’s not just a speedy printer, but a speedy faxer at an advertised rate of 3 seconds per sheet. The fax also supports 60 speed dial numbers and a fax memory of up to 180 pages. The 840 comes with Epson’s instant-dry ink that won’t smudge or fade. The black ink is high capacity and is rated to print twice as much as Epson’s standard black ink cartridge. The printer can fit an entire ream of paper (500 sheets) between both trays. There’s a 30 page document auto-feeder which is for scanning, copying, or faxing one or two-sided originals. There’s a 7.8” smart touch panel that swivels and features a 3.5” color LCD touch screen which controls a lot of the 840’s functions. With just a few button clicks you can have multiple sheets scanned to the computer of your choice as JPG, PDF, or as an email. You can also have sheets scanned straight to a memory card or USB. Similarly, you can stock the auto sheet feeder with multiple sheets and have the 840 print color or black and white copies. You can print images directly from any memory cards or USB key you plug in. There are settings on the printer so you can fine-tune your printing preferences. You can even set up printing straight from your iPhone, BlackBerry, or iOS device as long as you’re connected to your home network.
One of the best features of the Epson’s WorkForce 840 is it’s integrated WiFi. The printer is small for it’s class, and has a small footprint, but it’s still a large printer. For this reason it’s very convenient that the WiFi gives you the freedom to put it just about anywhere in the home or office without having to run a wire to the computer. One of the most noticeable features is that it’s extremely fast for an ink jet printer. It can spit out a page of text in a matter of seconds. Photos slow it down, and a full page photo is not especially quick. The printing is mostly high quality. The black and white prints are pretty darned close to laser quality, text is clear and sharp, there’s no blurriness, and there are smooth curves. Photo printing comes out amazingly on photo paper and dense papers. On thinner printing paper, the print still comes out nice, but the paper may warp from the ink. Even still, the ink doesn’t smudge, and is dry when it comes out of the printer.
The WorkForce 840’s user interface is very intuitive: the main screen has large buttons for copy, fax, scan, print photos, print ruled paper, and setup. From there you just follow the prompts. The illuminated soft-touch buttons on either side of the screen change between active and inactive depending on the function you choose. The ‘print ruled paper’ option is an interesting feature: the 840 can print a variety of graph paper or lined paper, you can even use your own photos as a background.
I was very pleased with the scanning process and the scanning quality. The scanning bed works well, but for standard sized paper, there’s nothing easier than using the document feeder. It’s painless to scan a stack of documents and have them effortlessly transfered to your memory card or computer as a jpeg, pdf, or email. The only catch is that over WiFi you can’t wirelessly send the scan to a Mac. It would either need to be wired, or you would need to go to your Mac and use the twain software to scan. By default the 840 will automatically send all scans to the ‘My Pictures’ folder in Windows, but this can be changed. Alternatively, if you have a memory card or USB in the WorkForce 840, you can scan to that, and then wirelessly access that memory card from your Mac (or Windows) computer. The scan quality is just as good as any good stand-alone scanner, and it will scan up to 1200 dpi.
Copying is a similar process to scanning. The copying process was actually much quicker than I expected. My photo copies were near identical to the originals; using default settings there was a bit of degradation, but it’s not that noticeable. Faxing works like a regular fax machine. The 840 is always ready to receive faxes. You can dial or use one of the stored numbers when sending a fax. A very cool feature is the ability to print to fax from your computer; on your computer you change the print settings to fax, enter the recipients number and info, and send. It then sends the information to the 840, which then faxes it out for you, easy breezy.
The WorkForce 840 supports printing from mobile devices, but it doesn’t support iOS’s new AirPrint feature. Instead, it relies on an app, and there are a few different apps depending on the device you’re using. Using the free Epson iPrint app, I was able to print any of my images from my iPhone straight to the printer, no setup required. The only requirement is that you’re on the same network. There aren’t many settings aside from paper size and border/borderless. Even so, it worked perfectly and is definitely a neat feature to have.
Epson’s WorkForce 840 does a lot of justice to the term “all-in-one”. It’s a whole lot of machine, and it’s easy to set up and easy to use. Though it’s a pretty large device, it has a relatively small footprint and a sleek professional appearance, plus the WiFi means it doesn’t have to be right next to the computer. The quality of the printing, scanning, copying, and faxing most certainly will not disappoint. Black and white printing is basically on par with laser printers, and photos come out surprisingly nice. The Epson WorkForce 840 retails for $299.99 but Amazon.com sells it for $199.99. At $200 the WorkForce 840 is a heck of a deal, but again that’s if it gets the amount of use it was made for. There are, of course, cheaper all-in-one units, but you’ll find you get what you pay for. Even though the ink is high capacity, eventually you will need to replace it, which is one of the big drawbacks. Epson’s ink is quite expensive, Amazon is selling the extra high capacity black ink for $30, and the color multi-pack for almost $50. The black is supposed to last you 945 pages and each color cartridge 755 pages. So, depending on how much printing you do, this could last you a very long time.
The Good: Easy to set up, easy to use, feature-rich, not too loud, nice appearance, duplex printing and scanning, PC Faxing, fast printing, WiFi-enabled, stores a ream of paper, mobile printing
The Bad: Can’t scan to Mac as easily as Windows, Expensive Ink