Review: Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4540 All-in-One Printer

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We’ve covered quite a bit of the Epson line and usually found the printers to be solid, respectable, and inexpensive. This latest addition to the WorkForce family, the WP-4540 is arguably all of those with a few caveats.

This is a workhorse printer, designed solely to pump out as much paper as possible in an office setting. It’s quite large and heavy, and adding on the extra paper drawer makes it nearly a foot high. It weighs in at 36 lbs, making it cousin to some more compact laser printers. It can hold 580 sheets and prints duplex, which is at once a potential cost and time savings as your employees use less paper and have to fill the thing up less frequently.

Because this is an multifunction unit, it includes a 30-sheet scanning hopper and can send faxes and scan to memory sticks.

You’re going to see about five sheets per minute out of this thing and print quality was more than acceptable for an inkjet. Text printing was solid with no artifacts or banding and the photos we printed, while a bit light, we acceptable on glossy photo paper. The average photo took about a minute to print.

One absolutely excellent feature is built-in AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. AirPrint alone is worth the price of admission on this unit and is a real timesaver.

Luckily, AirPrint saves the day here because its presence enables me to overlook a number of potentially fatal flaws this printer has. First, there is no card reader built-in, so photographers should probably steer clear. It also doesn’t support PictBridge or printing from a thumb drive, omissions that push this firmly into the back-office category of printer. If you’re looking for a family/small office printer, I’d recommend something from Canon or another Epson MFP. This is not the printer you’re looking for.

That said, at $299 this printer is cheap enough to be dangerous and thanks to relatively inexpensive ink – you’re paying about 2 cents per page – you’re not going to break the bank maintaining this unit.

This printer doesn’t want the limelight. Stick it in a back room somewhere and tell people to print their internal documents to it. If you need something personal with more photo features, you’re going to come away disappointed. However, as a maintenance-free printer that will do its work quickly and well, you probably can’t go wrong.

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