It wasn’t long ago that inkjet printers with the ability to print oversize pages (up to 11×17 inches, often called “ledger” or “wide-format”) were specialty devices that commanded premium prices—as much as $500, or more. Over the past year or so, though, we’ve seen a few all-in-one (AIO) models, such as Brother’s $299.99 MFC-J6710DW, that not only print ledger-size pages, but can also copy, scan, and fax them. This is a handy advantage for small businesses, seeing as it can eliminate time-consuming trips to the local FedEx outlet when you need oversize prints.
While printer giant Epson has offered single-function wide-format inkjet printers for some time now, the recent debut of two models in the company’s WorkForce line of business-ready AIOs shows a different approach. The $249.99 WF-7510 and $299.99 WF-7520 (the model we review here) are Epson’s first multifunction (print, copy, scan, and fax) machines that support oversize input and output. The WF-7510 and WF-7520 are essentially the same machine, with identical features and performance; the $50 price premium on the WF-7520 simply gets you a second 250-sheet paper tray.
The WF-7520 is an attractive, well-built machine, and it performed similarly to other higher-end WorkForce models, such as the Epson WorkForce 845, on our benchmark tests. We were a bit surprised, however, that the duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) worked with documents only up to standard letter-size. (This ADF allows for unassisted two-sided scanning or copying of pages.) Unlike Brother’s MFC-J6710DW, which can automatically scan, copy, and fax two-sided wide-format pages, the WF-7520 cannot. It can, however, print pages up to 13×19 inches, which is two inches wider and longer than the ledger-size media (11×17 inches) supported by most competing models, and the largest print size of any AIO we know of.
The extra two inches of output width will be a handy occasional-use convenience feature for many buyers, but bear in mind that output at this size (or any size) with this printer comes at a (very literal) price. That’s because the WF-7520 has one of the highest per-page operational costs, or cost per page (CPP) ratings among business-centric AIOs. In nontechnical language, that means its ink cartridges are relatively expensive on a per-print basis. Since Epson builds and markets the WF-7520 as a device meant for high-volume output, we insist that its cost per page should be more competitive. (More on that in the Setup & Paper Handling section, later on.)
The high CPP aside, though, this is an impressive AIO printer. We weathered a few minor bumps with paper feeding and high-quality photograph printing during our tests, but overall this AIO performed well, with exceptional print-output, scan, and copy quality. It’s loaded with the features that most small businesses need, and it churns out documents that any company would be proud to distribute to clients and would-be clients. In fact, it did a bunch of things, namely printing, scanning, and copying photographs, better than Brother’s wide-format offering.
If quality is more important to your company than a lowest-possible daily operational cost, the WF-7520 belongs on your shopping shortlist. It turns out some of the best-looking documents and images we’ve seen from a business AIO, wide-format or otherwise.
See review at Computer Shopper.