printer
Epson

Review: Epson 635 All-in-One Inkjet Printer

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Short Version: All-in-Ones are the merkins of the tech world: everyone needs one but no one wants to talk about them. That’s why I’m proud to lift my head high and say, unequivocally, that Epson has ironed out all of the kinks that come with this kind of printer and, in the process, built a handsome and usable device for home, office, or home office. Add in two-sided printing and support for a panoply of paper formats and you have a winner.

Features:

  • Two-sided printing
  • Wired/wireless networking
  • Scan to memory card
  • 15 ppm Black and White printing
  • MSRP: $149

Pros:

  • On-board LCD for previews
  • Two-sided printing actually works
  • Quiet, fast printing

Cons:

  • Plastic parts are hard to fit together in a hurry
  • Some photo printing problems
  • UI could be a touch cleaner

 

Review:

I reviewed the previous version of this printer a few years ago and found it lacking. The Wi-Fi connectivity was spotty and the printing was slow and noisy. I’m glad to say that both of those issues have been ironed out in this iteration and that the 635 may be one of the best printers we’ve had in our extensive collection.

The 635 features a large scanner platen that supports duplication, scanning direct to card/USB drive, and faxing (who faxes?). The card reader can grab and print most photographs and you can use almost any sized paper (below the maximum legal size). Duplex printing works in both color and black and white.

I can’t speak for ink longevity as this hasn’t been set up long enough to run down the tanks. However, the color print quality is excellent – if a little sporadic. One photo we printed came out with small, dotted lines marring the face while the next few were pristine. It wasn’t a big enough deal to call for a redo.

Wireless networking is excellent on this model. I was able to set it up and forget it completely, printing from my various home PCs like the Dark Lord Sauron sending his inky minions off to attack the horse people of Rohan using spooky action at a distance. This has always been a big deal with Wi-Fi printers and I’m glad to say the 802.11n networking was seamless, even when you turned the printer on and off. Remember, however, to download the latest drivers from Epson’s website as the included CD is usually outdated.

The printer also has a top-fed document hopper that will accept, scan, and copy about twenty pages at a time. The front panel is very readable although some of the UI elements on screen are a bit confusing, especially the “Print Color” and “Print B&W” button indicators. It takes a moment to figure out what you specifically want to do, but once you’ve got it licked the interface logic is easy to follow.

The only unequivocally bad thing about this printer is the paper tray. If you want to print on bigger or smaller media you have to take out the tray (which is difficult), set spacers, and then stuff the tray back in (which is also difficult.) There is no rear feeder, which is actually a good thing because it means you can place this on a tight shelf and not have to mess around behind the printer.

Conclusion:
Again, AIO printers are pretty boring and unsightly but, thanks to Epson’s improvements and the general impression that this is a more polished and better product than previous 600 series printers. It is a good, general purpose printer for folks who need to do some photo printing but will mostly be spitting out B&W text with the occasional color page.

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