Inkjet printers that only print have become a rare breed. While single-function laser-class printers still abound, we can’t say the same about single-function inkjets. Shop around for a consumer or small-business inkjet, even at the very low end, and you’ll quickly realize that the market has been taken over by cost-efficient all-in-one (AIO) models.
Over the past year or two, though, we’ve seen a few single-function inkjets slip out from the major printer makers. This kind of printer has become uncommon enough that those models made us sit up and take notice. They include Canon’s Maxify iB4020, HP’s higher-end Officejet Pro X551dw Color Printer (based on its innovative PageWide technology), and the topic of this review, Epson’s PrecisionCore-based $199.99 WorkForce WF-7110 Inkjet Printer.
The first two printers are all about the high-volume output of letter-size pages. The WF-7110 is a different beast altogether, though: Of these three single-function printers, only this WorkForce model prints wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, a size also known as supertabloid. Unfortunately, like most other wide-format printers priced for consumers and small businesses, the WorkForce WF-7110 also has a relatively high operational cost—what we call the cost per page, or CPP—especially when you compare it to a bunch of other like-priced, high-volume inkjets on the market. (We’ll look more closely at the nuances of this printer’s CPP in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on.)
Like the midrange laser-class printers that this model and its competitors are designed to compete with, this WorkForce model is built to sit there and churn out copious bunches of pages. That’s clear from two things: its paper handling, and its maximum duty cycle. (The maximum duty cycle is the number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without wearing out the machine prematurely.) The maximum duty cycle on the WF-7110 is a surprising 20,000 pages per month. Also, as you’ll see in some detail later on, the WorkForce WF-7110 has two good-size input sources, with paper drawers configurable to hold sheets ranging from 3.5×5-inch photo paper to supertabloid copy stock for documents and photo paper for borderless prints up to 13×19 inches. Often, the borderless treatment on an image, a flyer, or a brochure can mean the difference between a professional- and an amateur-looking job.
In short, the WorkForce WF-7110 appears to be designed for versatility and volume—but the volume part of the equation is going to sail onto the rocks of the cost per page. As we’ve pointed out in previous reviews of wide-format inkjets, such as HP’s Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One, most wide-format printers have a higher cost per page than their like-priced letter-size counterparts. For the most part, though, most wide-format printers have similar CPPs to each other. HP’s similarly priced Officejet 7610, for instance, delivers about the same CPPs as this one, especially when you’re talking about black-and-white pages.
Furthermore, several of Brother’s numerous office-oriented wide-format printers, such as the MFC-J6920DW, have significantly lower CPPs. But, then, they can’t print 13×19-inch pages, only “plain” tabloid-size ones at 11×17 inches. (In the printer world, the termwide-format encompasses both sizes.) As is often the case with midrange printers, even though they’re capable of printing great-looking pages at highly competitive speeds, their per-page cost of operation makes them money pits for all but limited duty—beyond, say, a couple hundred pages per month.
As a result, the WorkForce WF-7110 is a role-filler, not the one-size-fits-all printer it might appear to be. Under the right circumstances, this model can be a great fit. But if your office requires high-volume output and wide-format output, there are better choices—perhaps an alternate 11×17-inch-capable model, or possibly a printer like the WorkForce WF-7110 paired with a second printer for the volume work.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.