Epson WorkForce 845 Color Inkjet Multifunction Printer Review - Page 2

By Aaron Weiss | Posted May 10, 2012

Epson Workforce 845 Print and Scan Capability

Epson rates the Workforce 845 at 15 ppm for black single-sided prints. In our tests using a PDF comprised of grayscale content with occasional color accents at normal print quality on plain paper, we achieved a print speed closer to 10 ppm. Time-to-first-page-complete clocked in at nearly 15 seconds.

Many factors can influence initial printing, including the speed of the computer and the network sending the job to the printer. And of course, as you ratchet up output quality you should expect speed to slow down.

Printing a test page of basic text in all five quality modes from "fast economy" to "quality" yielded dramatically different results. Pages in "fast economy" and "economy" modes printed closer to the advertised 15 ppm -- but were virtually illegible. Those print modes skip so many pixels that text basically looks like incomplete blotches.

Consider "normal" quality mode the minimum acceptable. Text in this mode is slightly rough but certainly readable. "Quality" mode produces fine, laser-quality text, but it takes at least three times as long as normal quality mode.

Color photo output on Epson premium glossy photo paper is outstanding. A 6MB color photo printed in highest quality mode on borderless Epson premium glossy photo paper completed in 6 minutes. This may seem long, but it's typical for a top-quality glossy photo print. This is where the WorkForce 845's 2-picoleter droplet size really shines compared to most color laser printer output.

The 845 also includes a built-in duplexer. Simply select "two-sided" from the printer driver and it will automatically print to both sides of each page. The duplexer works reliably and quickly, and it can potentially save a lot of paper.

A 2400DPI scanner can handle documents either on a flatbed or fed through the 30-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), which also includes built-in duplexing for double-sided scans. 

Scans are sharp and unusually quiet compared to other multifunction printers, and the ADF smoothly reels in each sheet. For flatbed scanning, note that the unit lacks true floating hinges, meaning that scanning thick objects like books can be a little tricky because the lid won't fully cover them. In copy mode, we measured 28 seconds from starting the scan to completed print for one color page.

Remote Printing with Epson's Color Inkjet Multifunction Printer

Epson has jumped on board mobile printing through its Epson Connect family of services. Although Epson does not offer printer-based network apps like HP does, you can email attachments to the printer for immediate printing.

After registering the printer through the Epson Connect service, you can log into the website and customize an email address for the printer, as well as create a sender whitelist (to prevent unauthorized print jobs like spam). The service supports attached documents in common Office formats (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), PDF, and common image formats.

Epson also provides a free mobile app called iPrint for iOS and Android devices. The iPrint app lets you print photos and documents directly from a smartphone or tablet – note that this app is for printing within the LAN, meaning that iPrint must be able to see the printer. For printing across the Internet from a mobile device you would use the email attachment service.

Consumable Costs of Epson's Color Inkjet Multifunction Printer

The WorkForce 845 uses 127-series ink cartridges. The black cartridge runs about $30 with a rated yield of 945 pages, for a price that's slightly more than 3.2 cents per page of black text. Compared to average laser printer toner, this is only a bit more expensive.

The three additional color cartridges run about $20 apiece. While color printing can never be described as cheap, these prices are reasonable, particularly considering the WorkForce 845's $150 street price.

Unlike some competitors, though, Epson cartridges do not include the print head, which is built into the printer. The print head has a finite life, and because it's not replaced with the ink cartridges, that may shorten the overall life of the printer.

Bottom Line

The WorkForce 845 is aggressively priced for its feature set, making it a well-rounded unit for many smaller offices. That said, $150 does not buy a printer suitable for high-output office environments, nor does it offer the full range of flexible paper handling of costlier units.

The 845's strengths are in its speed and output quality, plus its full duplexing support. Its best use case is a low-output SOHO environment that needs strong photo/color output on plain or glossy papers.

Aaron Weiss a technology writer, screenwriter and Web development consultant who spends his free time stacking wood for the winter in Upstate New York. His Web site is: bordella.com

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