Review of the Epson Expression 12000XL-PH at PCMagPROS

  • High-resolution, wide-format scanning. Scans slides, negatives, and transparencies, as well as reflective photos and artwork. Highly accurate color and detail.

  • CONS

    Expensive. Big and heavy. Transparency unit comes uninstalled.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Epson Expression 12000XL-PH is a large, tabloid-size graphics arts and photograph scanner that is compatible with a large array of media and produces excellent output.

The wide-format Epson Expression 12000XL-PH ($3429.99) is the professional photographers’ version of the Expression 12000XL-GA, an oversize professional graphic artists’ flatbed scanner. Essentially, these two machines are the same, except that the PH version comes with a transparency unit for scanning slides, transparencies, and negatives. While you can buy the scanner itself and opt for the transparency unit later, purchasing them together, in the same box, saves you about $130. Either way, its price is substantial for a flatbed scanner, but graphic artists, photographers, and desktop publishers will find the 12000XL-PH a highly accurate and quality tool for digitizing not only slides, transparencies, and film, but also photos and artwork up to tabloid-size (11 by 17 inches).
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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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  • Review of the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 at PCMagPROS

    Excellent print quality overall. Relatively fast. Competitively low running costs. Supports Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. Light and compact.

  • CONS

    No multipurpose tray. Non-auto-duplexing ADF.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-4730 all-in-one inkjet is fast and capable, and it supports just about every mobile connectivity feature available, but an auto-duplexing ADF would make it more attractive.

Positioned between two Editors’ Choice recipients, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 and the WorkForce Pro WF-4740, the WorkForce Pro WF-4730 ($199.99) is a step up from the former and a step down from the latter. Like its siblings, the WF-4730 inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printer produces great output, and it is fast for its class. It provides higher paper input capacity than the WF-4720, but its automatic document feeder (ADF) is smaller than the WF-4740’s, and it’s incapable of automatic two-sided scanning, whereas the WF-4740’s auto-duplexing ADF scans, copies, and faxes two-sided multipage documents without intervention. As is the case with its siblings, the WF-4730 is a highly capable solution for moderate-volume printing and copying in a small workgroup or micro office, but it lacks the auto-duplexing ADF of the WF-4740 and the lower price of the WF-4720.Read entire review at PCMag


 

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  • Review of the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4740 at PCMagPROS

    Excellent print quality overall. Auto-duplexing ADF. Competitively low running costs. Supports Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. Fast for its class.

  • CONS

    No multipurpose tray. Small output tray. Slightly expensive.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The WF-4740 prints well and fast, and it supports just about every midrange business-centric inkjet feature available, including Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, and two-sided scanning.

The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4740 ($299.99) is a more robust version of the Editors’ Choice WF-4720, a business-centric inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printer. For the difference in price (about $100), you get twice the paper input capacity, a larger automatic document feeder (ADF) that supports two-sided scanning, and a bigger color touch screen. Like its less-expensive sibling, it prints well and quickly, and comes with a wide range of connectivity options.

The WF-4740 is more expensive than our current Editors’ Choice, the Canon Maxify MB2720 Wireless Home Office All-in-One Printer, but it’s faster, prints a little better, and comes with several additional useful features, making it our new first choice for low-to-moderate print volume in a small workgroup or micro office.

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Review of the Epson Workforce ES-200 Portable Duplex Document Scanner at PCMagA non-Wi-Fi sibling to the Editors’ Choice Epson ES-300W we reviewed recently, the Epson WorkForce ES-200 Portable Duplex Document Scanner ($199) is a highly capable portable document scanner. Like the ES-300W, it comes with a top-tier collection of optical character recognition (OCR) and document and business card management programs. And, like the Editors’ Choice Canon imageFormula P-215II Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner, both Epson models have automatic document feeders (ADFs) and the ability to scan two-sided multipage documents in a single pass. The ES-200 doesn’t support wireless scanning, nor does it have an internal battery (as does the ES-300W) for higher portability. It’s a less-expensive alternative to the wireless model for relatively high-speed scanning on the road, but at just $50 more, for many users, the higher-end ES-300W is a better value.

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Review of the Epson Workforce ES-300W Portable Wireless Duplex Document Scanner at PCMagFew peripherals are as convenient as portable document scanners, and few portable document scanners are as fast and capable as the Epson WorkForce ES-300W Wireless Portable Duplex Document Scanner ($299.99). Like the Canon imageFormula P-215II Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner, the ES-300W has a built-in automatic document feeder (ADF), but the Epson model is faster than the P-215II, and it supports Wi-Fi, for completely cable-free operation when combined with its built-in battery. Like most Epson WorkForce scanners, the ES-300W comes with a complete suite of software, including document and business card archiving programs. A generous software bundle, fast performance, including quick PDF file conversion, and wireless connectivity are enough to unseat the P-215II Scan-tini as our Editors’ Choice for portable document scanners.

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Review of the Epson Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One Printer at Computer ShopperWe remember, about four or five years ago, when the first Epson Small-in-One printers appeared on the market. Then as now, their key selling point was, of course, size: You could buy an all-in-one (AIO) machine with a very small footprint that printed, copied, and scanned, and tuck it on the corner of your desk. The Expression Home Small-in-Ones have been a mainstay for many years, like the Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One we reviewed back in 2013, a distant predecessor to the $99.99-MSRP Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One we are reviewing here today.

This is actually the fourth iteration of the XP-400 series. The XP-410 mentioned above was followed by the Expression Home XP-420 and the Expression Home XP-430; we reviewed that last one less than a year ago. Aside from a new feature here or there and some performance tweaking, the XP-400 series really hasn’t seen much change over the years. And, as you can see in the image below, its physical appearance has stayed remarkably consistent, too…

Epson Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One (Left Angled Alternate)The XP-440 is the one on the right; the XP-410 is on the left. Making a few tweaks to a product, up-ticking the name, and releasing it as a new product is common practice among printer makers. Not only does releasing slightly iterated machines with incrementally higher model numbers, year after year, keep the products themselves fresh to an extent (generating new reviews, like this one!), but it also gives us technology journalists something to do. We’re not complaining.

Like the first XP-400 series model, the XP-440 delivers top-notch quality across all of its prime functions. It churns out stellar prints, especially photos, and it scans quite well. This is, however, an entry-level, low-volume AIO printer designed for home and family use. It’s meant for environments that will demand only light usage, and that’s evidenced by its lack of an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner without user intervention. That omission is expected in this price range, but it severely limits your scanning capabilities.

Like most other entry-level AIOs of its class, this one, like its predecessors, costs a lot to use, in terms of the per-page price of ink. That’s always a critical issue for us. Historically, we’ve always recommended expensive-to-use machines like this one with the caveat that, because of the running cost, they are practical for only minimal use (say, no more than a few hundred prints or copies per month). Our beef is that the buyers of these entry-level AIOs who actually use their printers day to day end up getting taxed, and heavily, for doing so.

Epson Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One (410 vs 440)

Epson Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One (Right Angled)Nowadays, though, with the advent of “supertank” printers like Epson’s own EcoTank models and Canon’s MegaTank AIOs (such as the Epson Expression ET-3600 and Canon Pixma G3200), users have more choices. If you need to print hundreds of pages on your entry-level AIO, you can opt to pay more for the printer itself, with the aim being to pay less for the ink to keep it going. If, on the other hand, you need a printer but will use it little, you can spend less than $100 on a small AIO like the XP-440, in exchange for higher per-page ink costs over its life. If you print only a few pages each month, then the cost of ink is less important. Hence, our perspective on the cost per page typically seen in low-cost entry-level AIOs like this one has changed with the times.

That said, the Epson Expression XP-440’s running costs are, as you’ll see in the Cost Per Page section later on, quite high. Even so, if all you need is to print and make copies on a small scale, the XP-440 is designed to do just that, and it does it quite well.

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Review of the Epson WorkForce ES-500W Wireless Duplex Document Scanner at PCMagWe’re seeing an increasing number of network-capable sheet-feed document scanners lately, including the $399.99 Epson WorkForce ES-500W Wireless Duplex Document Scanner we’re reviewing here. But the ES-500W is somewhat different in that it’s not often that we see network functionality on an entry-level scanner like this one. (Epson does offer a non-Wi-Fi version of the ES-500W, the ES-400, for $50 less.) The ES-500W is fast for its class, and it saves to image and searchable PDF at a good clip for the price. Optical character recognition (OCR) accuracy is a bit below average, though, but it comes with a well-rounded software bundle that includes document and business card archiving software.

Overall, we found the ES-500W impressive, but its mediocre OCR accuracy dinged it just enough to cause it to come up short in dethroning the Editor’s Choice Canon imageFormula DR-C225 as our go-to low-to mid-volume document scanner for a small or micro office. We also like it as a personal document scanner, though in that capacity its OCR accuracy falls short of the Editors’ Choice HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s3 Sheet-Feed Scanner.

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Review of the Epson Expression ET-2600 EcoTank All-in-One at Computer ShopperHere we are a year and a half (or so) after Epson first released its consumer- and small-office-grade EcoTank “supertank” printers in the United States, It’s a product introduction that, if you believe what the Japanese electronics giant tells us, has met with huge success.

While we complained for years about inkjet-printer makers selling ink for exorbitant per-page prices (and like to think that we did our bit to spur change), when EcoTank printers came out, we wondered whether U.S. consumers would recognize the benefit of paying more for the printer up front to save on the ongoing cost of ink. EcoTank printers, like the Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One, after all, are priced at four or five times more than their non-“supertanker” counterparts.

If what Epson told us about EcoTank printer sales is accurate (and we have no reason to believe that it’s not), consumers indeed have embraced this new way to buy printers. The release of the $279.99 Expression ET-2600 EcoTank All-in-One (today’s review model) and its $20-more-expensive ET-2650 EcoTank  sibling marks round two in what we have recently dubbed the “big ink” wars. (Both are upgrades to the Expression ET-2550.) Epson, by expanding the EcoTank product line, has co-signed this pay-more-now-to-pay-less-later approach to selling printers, while Brother, with its INKvestment product line, came onboard a while back. And Canon recently joined the fray with its new MegaTank Pixma G-series machines. It’s clear: This battle of the ink bottle is on.

Epson Expression ET-2600 (Three Quarters View)

Instead of using standard ink cartridges, Epson’s EcoTank printers, like Canon’s MegaTank machines, deploy relatively large reservoirs that you fill with ink from bottles. (Brother’s INKvestment products continue to use cartridges.) In either case, the idea is the same: lower running costs, higher initial purchase prices.

Which brings us back to the Expression ET-2600. As mentioned, Epson offers two Expression ET-2600-series models. The difference between them: The Expression ET-2650 comes with a slot for printing from SD cards, and it supports Wi-Fi Direct (a peer-to-peer protocol that allows you to print from and scan to mobile devices without a network). If you need either of these features, spending the additional $20 for the Expression ET-2650 seems like a no-brainer to us.

Aside from rock-bottom running costs, what the Expression ET-2600 and ET-2650 have going for them is excellent print quality; we’ll discuss that in more detail in the Output Quality section later on. In fact, graphics and photo quality are exceptional, with only one caveat: The Expression ET-2600, like its predecessor, can’t print borderless documents or photos. We’ll look at why that’s important, also, later on.

Epson Expression ET-2600 (Angled)

As we’ve said about other EcoTank (and Canon MegaTank) models, don’t let the price fool you. This is above all else a low-volume, entry-level printer priced to save you money on the ongoing per-page price of ink. And from that perspective, it works. It prints well and costs very little to use, and it provides the ability to scan and copy, also on a low-volume basis. If that’s all you need, the Expression ET-2600 should serve you well.

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Review of the Epson Expression ET-2650 EcoTank All-in-One Printer at PCMagA remake of the Expression ET-2550, the Epson Expression ET-2650 EcoTank All-in-One Printer ($299.99) is a low-volume inkjet all-in-one printer (AIO) with a feature set that relegates it to light-duty home use. Like Epson’s other “supertank” EcoTank models (and now Canon’s G-series MegaTank printers, including the similarly priced Canon Pixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One Printer), the basic principle behind the ET-2650 is that you pay more for the product upfront and much less for the ink to keep it running. The ET-2650 performs better than its predecessor, and like all EcoTank models, running costs are quite low. But like the ET-2550 before it, it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF), an auto-duplexer, and a few other notable features. You give up a lot to print inexpensively, but if basic is all you need, this upgrade is more attractive than the model it replaces.

See the entire review at PCMag

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