Epson advertises it as the world’s fastest all-in-one printer. With features like wireless connectivity, large paper capacity, automatic two-sided color printing, copying, scanning, and faxing, the Epson WorkForce 840 all-in-one printer sounds great. We decided to take a close look to check out this printer’s performance as well as its features.
The Epson WorkForce 840 comes in a large, colorful box, as shown in Figure 1.
In addition to the printer, the box contains four ink cartridges, an instruction manual, a CD, a free sample paper pack, and a telephone cord. As with many of today’s printers, there is no USB cable included. Yet, unlike many of today’s printers that come with starter ink cartridges, this printer comes with a full set of high-capacity cartridges – a valuable addition.
As shown in Figure 3, the WorkForce 840 has a modest footprint for a heavy-duty device. It measures 17.6 x 14.5 x 11.8 inches (447 x 368 x 300 mm). With empty paper trays, it weighs in at 22.0 lbs (9.98 kg).
Setting up the WorkForce 840 was an easy job. The four-fold Start Here guide walks you through the eight steps to getting your printer going. The first steps include unpacking, turning on, and selecting settings. To install the print cartridges, raise the scanner cover and open the door on the cartridge compartment, as shown in Figure 4.
The 840 has two paper trays that can be pulled out from the front of the printer, as shown in Figure 5. Tray one can hold letter, A4, legal-size, 4×6-inch (10 x 15 cm), 5×7-inch (13 x 18 cm), or 8×10-inch (20 x 25 cm) paper (plain or photo). Tray two can be used only for letter, A4, or legal-size plain paper. One nice feature is that each tray can hold 250 sheets which means that between the two trays, you can load an entire ream of paper. Instead of paper, the upper tray can also hold 10 envelopes.
After you load the paper, you connect the included phone cord and install the software. The software installation walks you through the set up for the type of connection that you are using. There are three ways to connect the WorkForce 840. It supports USB 2.0, Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), and Wired Ethernet (10/100 Mbps). Both the USB and Ethernet connections require a cable, which is not included. A USB cable is also needed for setting up a wireless connection, but following the software wizard makes the setup easy. The last step was the fax setup which was also straightforward.
The software disk also includes the Epson Easy Photo Print, Epson Scan, Epson CreativeZone, and ABBYY FineReader software. These programs provide basic printing, scanning, and OCR character recognition.
[nextpage title=”The Hardware”]
When all of the trays of this printer are closed, as shown in Figure 6, it is actually a fairly compact unit, considering all its functionality and paper-holding capabilities.
The automatic document feeder tray opens easily. This tray can hold up to 30 sheets of one- or two-sided originals for copying, scanning, or faxing.
The WorkForce 840 has a 7.8-inch control panel. When the latch on the back side of this control panel is pressed, it can be tilted up and adjusted to a suitable position. Figure 7 shows the printer with the document feeder and control panel extended.
If you look closely at Figure 7, you can see that the screen has three distinct areas. The darker square in the center is the 3.5-inch color LCD touchscreen. The area on either side of the touchscreen is a type of control panel whose controls appear contextually (only when needed). To the left of the screen and the control panel area is an on/off button and a Wi-Fi indicator light.
This printer has an auto-duplexer, which is great for saving on paper costs by automatically printing on both sides of the paper. The duplex unit can be seen in Figure 8 on the back of the unit. While some duplex units protrude by as much as three or four inches, this duplexer protrudes only slightly.
On the right side of the back you can also see the plug for the power cable and the two telephone jacks.
The USB and Ethernet ports can be seen on the side of the unit, as shown in Figure 9.
On the left front of the WorkForce 840 are slots for media cards as shown in Figure 10. This printer accepts a large variety of memory cards including Memory Stick PRO, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCardplus, SD Memory Card, IBM Microdrive, USB flash drive, and xD-Picture Card. (See the Mais Specifications page for the complete list.) Any of these can be used for saving scans and/or copies or for printing directly from memory cards and flash drives. Under the card slots is a USB/PictBridge port.
[nextpage title=”Using the WorkForce 840″]
The WorkForce 840 delivers high-speed, automatic, two-sided color printing, copying, scanning and faxing. It is easy to navigate the printer through its large control panel. As shown in Figure 11, the 3.5-inch touchscreen is lit in white, amber, and orange, while the touch controls are lit in amber.
There are eight main menu categories: Copy, Fax, Scan, Print Photo, Print Ruled Paper, and Setup are on the first page. Press the right-facing arrow to get to the second page which has the Back Up Data (to memory card) and the Problem Solver choices. When you choose any main category, the appropriate options are lit on the sides of the control panel. These are also touch-sensitive. Press the Home button to return to the main screen at any time. The navigation is intuitive and the touchscreen is responsive.
Paper handling is excellent. During several months of testing, we did not encounter any paper jams. The automatic two-sided printing also worked well on both the PC and the Mac. Although each paper tray holds 250 sheets, when the paper in tray one is used, you must switch to tray two in the printer software. It would be nice if this would happen automatically when using standard size paper.
Black text on plain paper looked very good. Only very close inspection revealed the slightly softened edges that are indicative of an ink jet rather than a laser printer. The instant-dry DURABrite Ultra Ink produces prints that are dry to the touch right out of the printer.
Color graphics and/or photos on plain paper were slightly faded, but looked very good when printed on Epson photo paper.
There are several apps that let you print directly from an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or other mobile device.
The 48-bit color flatbed scanner has a maximum scan resolution of up to 9600 x 9600 dpi (interpolated). Its scanner works well and has the ability to scan paper as large as A4. The cover is hinged, allowing for easy scanning of thick documents and books. Although most of our computers were able to scan from the unit or from the Epson Scan utility on the computer, we found we were unable to scan from one of our networked computers unless we started the software first. Also, while all our PCs were able to scan through the network connection, our Mac running the Lion operating system could only scan when attached by a USB cable. Scan features include: Scan-to-PC, Scan-to-PDF and Scan-to-Email.
One nice additional feature is that the scanner automatically senses multiple images and divides them into separate files during the preview. Another feature is that it can print or copy multiple pages onto a single sheet.
Epson claims up to 15 ppm in black and white, and 9.3 ppm in color; we were able to get speeds just under that. Epson also claims that the WorkForce 840 is the world’s fastest all-in-one. In a side-by-side testing, we found the Epson B510DN to be slightly faster, but even with several people printing to the WorkForce 840 at the same time, the speed of the WorkForce 840 didn’t disappoint.
Faxing can be done from the device’s on-screen keyboard or from your computer with PC Fax. (We did not test faxing from the Mac.) You can fax in black-and-white or color. At 33.6 Kbps faxing is speedy. Fax amenities include 60 speed-dial numbers and a memory that holds up to 180 pages.
Epson calls its smallest-capacity cartridge size “high-capacity.” Since the black high-capacity cartridge prints 385 pages and the color prints about 470 pages, we couldn’t argue with that nomenclature. A high-capacity black cartridge costs USD 18.04, or 4.7 cents per page. Each color costs USD 15.19 which works out to 3.2 cents per page.
Epson also has extra high-capacity ink cartridges that print 945 pages for black and 755 for color. At USD 28.49, the black extra-high-capacity per page cost is three cents. The color extra-high-capacity cost per page is 2.4 cents.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Epson WorkForce 840 include:
- Dimensions: 17.6 x 14.5 x 11.8 inches (447 x 368 x 300 mm)
- Weight: 22.0 lbs (9.98 kg)
- Print speeds: Up to 15 ppm single-sided, 7.4 ppm double-sided
- Print resolution: Up to 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi
- Printing Technology: Four-color (CMYK)
- Printer Language: Epson ESC/P-R
- 7.8-inch touch control panel w/3.5-inch LCD
- 30-page ADF w/duplexing capability
- Automatic double-sided printing
- Built-in memory card reader w/front side USB port
- Paper capacity: Two 250-sheet paper trays
- Copy Features: Fit to page, automatic reduction and enlargement (25% – 400%), adjustable copy density
- Scanner Type: Color flatbed/Automatic two-sided ADF
- Scanner Maximum Resolution: 9600 x 9600 dpi interpolated
- Scanner Bit Depth: 48-bit color/24-bit output
- Connectivity: Hi-Speed USB 2.0, Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Wired Ethernet (10/100 Mbps)
- Memory Card Compatibility: Compact Flash (Memory card only), MicroDrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo (with Adapter), MagicGate Memory Stick, MagicGate Memory Stick Duo (with Adapter), Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick PRO Duo (with Adapter), Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo (with Adapter), Memory Stick Micro M2 (with Adapter), SD, SDHC, MiniSD (with Adapter), MiniSDHC (with Adapter), MicroSD (with Adapter), MicroSDHC (with Adapter), Multi Media Card, MMCplus, MMCmobile RS-MMC (with Adapter), MMCmicro (with Adapter), xD-Picture Card, xD-Picture Card Type-M, xD-Picture Card Type-M+, xD-Picture Card Type-H
- Operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows XP x64, Mac OS X, 10.4.11, 10.5.8 and 10.6.x
- Paper Sizes: 3.5” x 5,” 4” x 6,” 5” x 7,” 8” x 10,” 8.5” x 11,” A4, B5, A5, A6, half letter, executive, user definable (3.5” – 44” in length)
- Eco Features: Energy Star qualified, RoHS compliant
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
- More information: http://www.epson.com
- MSRP in the US: USD 300.00
The WorkForce 840 packs a lot of features into a relatively compact device. It can print, copy, scan, and fax. It performs each of these functions admirably. It has some features not always found on all-in-ones, including a hinged scanner lid, automatic duplexing, a document feeder, wireless connectivity, support for mobile printing, and the ability to handle envelopes and A4 paper. With its responsive touchscreen and intuitive navigation, the WorkForce 840 is easy to use.
We found very little to complain about with this printer. As we used it, we even found a few pleasant surprises. For instance, at first we thought the printer lacked a cancel button, but then we found that when printing, a cancel button appears on the control panel. We also found a copy wizard that helps you consolidate two pages in one, puts a border on your copy, or copies both sides of a page. Although this printer seems geared toward a business user, there are little perks hidden away that will also appeal to the home user. For instance, there is an automatic photo restoration setting, the ability to print thumbnails of all the photos on your memory card, and the ability to create a slideshow from your USB device or memory card pictures.
All-in-all, we found this all-in-one a good performer with plenty of features. It is a great device for small office or heavy-duty home use. Although more expensive than some other all-in-ones, it offers good value for the price.
- Fast print speeds
- Easy to navigate touch panel
- Wireless connectivity
- Excellent paper capacity
- Extra high-capacity ink cartridges
- Good paper handling
- Auto duplexing
- Support for mobile printing
- Comes with full high-capacity ink cartridges
- Hinged scanner cover accommodates books
- Automatically scans or copies both sides of a document
- Instant drying ink
- No control-panel-to-Mac scanning via WiFi