PrecisionCore Speed and Output Quality – Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-4720 All-in-One

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Review and Ratings of the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 All-in-One at Computer ShopperIntroduction, Design & Features

It’s been some time (late 2012!) since Epson has updated its WorkForce Pro 4000 series of all-in-one business printers, and the new ones bear little resemblance, in terms of features, price, and appearance, to their predecessors.

The WorkForce Pro WP-4590, for example, had no Wi-Fi connectivity and listed for $499.99, whereas the relatively new WorkForce Pro WF-4720 All-in-One Printer—today’s review model—does support Wi-Fi and it lists for just $199.99. The earlier model was white and way larger, with a control panel dominated by myriad buttons and a keypad. The WF-4720, in contrast, is black, much smaller than the 2012 model, and equipped with a control panel that’s primarily just a color touch screen.

Part of a multi-unit release a few months ago, the WorkForce Pro WF-4720 is the smallest new 4000-series model, in terms of capacity, features, and several other key features. At the same time, Epson also released the more robust WF-4740, as well as a smaller 3000-series model, the WF-3720—which we’ll be reviewing soon. It’s important that you pay attention to their individual feature lists; what you give up for the relatively small difference in list prices among them is significant. Today’s review unit, for instance, comes with only one paper-input source and a manual-duplex-only automatic document feeder (ADF), meaning that the scanner can’t scan two-sided pages without your help. The $299.99-MSRP WF-4740, on the other hand, has two paper cassettes and a larger, auto-duplexing ADF, as well as some other significant differences.

All three WorkForce Pro models do, however, deploy Epson’s now-familiar PrecisionCore inkjet print-head technology, which Epson touts as endowed with “performance beyond laser.” That may sound like huffed-up marketing, but as we’ll get into near the end of this review, this is not an idle boast. Few printers, inkjet or laser, print as well—be it with text, graphics, or photos—as this one.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 (Output)

As we’ll also get into later on, it does so at fairly reasonable per-page ink costs. The numbers are not quite as low as you’d see from one of Brother’s INKvestment Business Smart or Business Smart Plus all-in-ones (AIOs), such as the Brother MFC-J6535DW, or one of Epson’s own EcoTank WorkForce AIOs, such as the WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One. But, compared to the WF-4720, there are drawbacks to both of those. The Brother model doesn’t print as well, for one thing, while the EcoTank AIO costs significantly more. In addition, since the ET-4550 is not a WorkForce Pro machine, it comes with only two PrecisionCore print chips, instead of the four chips in the Pro models, making it slower, with slightly inferior print quality. We’ll look into all of this—print quality and running costs—a little deeper as we progress through this review.

Depending on your needs, the WF-4740 may be a better value for your home office or small office. We’ll look more closely at the differences in a moment. Meanwhile, if you don’t print or copy a lot—say, no more than 500 to 1,000 pages per month—and you don’t scan a lot of two-sided multipage documents, the WF-4720 will be an excellent printer choice. It’s small, light, and easy to install and put to work, and it’s not overly expensive to use. Its running costs are, in fact, lower than some close competitors, such as the Canon Maxify MB2120 Wireless Home Office Inkjet and the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One, and it prints a little better than both. The main thing that held it back from becoming an Editors’ Choice is its lack of an auto-duplexing ADF. (Of the two other machines just mentioned, the WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank also lacks one, but the OfficeJet Pro 6978 has the goods.)

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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