Epson’s WorkForce line of business-centric printers range widely in size, price, and feature sets. Near the bottom of product line are the company’s low-price, low-volume WF-3500 models, such as the WorkForce WF-3540 All-in-One Printer. And, at the top of the chain is the WorkForce Pro WP-4590, a high-volume, inexpensive-to-use, feature-rich multifunction (print, copy, scan, and fax) inkjet printer with laser-printer-like speed and quality. Granted, at $500, this WorkForce all-in-one (AIO) isn’t for everybody, but if your small- or medium-size business (SMB) prints and makes a lot of copies, this stalwart workhorse won’t disappoint you.
Design and Features
As a high-volume multifunction printer, or MFP, should be, the WP-4590 is fast and well-built, and its paper input options and ink cartridges provide enough capacity to keep it running for considerable periods without your having to take it out of service to fill a paper drawer or replace an ink cartridge. It has a 50-page auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying, scanning, and faxing two-sided originals without user intervention.
Designed to print thousands of pages each month, the WP-4590 isn’t all that big for all that it does. At 18.1 inches across, 25.7 inches from front to back, and 15.1 inches tall, it’s smaller than most laser-class MFPs; also, at 30.4 pounds, it weighs considerably less. Since high-volume inkjet devices don’t require large print drums and toner cartridges, they tend to be smaller than their laser counterparts—also quieter.
A drawback to this high-volume model, versus some competitors, such as HP’s $299.99 Officejet Pro 8620 e-All-in-One Printer, the WP-4590 doesn’t support Wi-Fi or any other wireless protocols. This means that you’ll need to be on an Ethernet (wired) network, or you can scan to or print from a USB thumb drive via the USB interface located on the right edge of the chassis. If your needs support for a wide range of mobile print channels, though, be sure to check out this About.com’s “Mobile Printing Features – 2014” article.
While this is an inkjet printer, it does emulate two important laser printer languages: Adobe’s PostScript and HP’s PCL 5. These are also the page description languages (PDLs) found in many modern typesetting machines and printing presses. While emulating these two important languages is important in a few ways, one of the more common applications is to use the MFP as a comp or proof printer prior to expensive prepress or printing runs.
Out-of-the-box, this MFP comes with one 250-sheet paper drawer and an 80-sheet override tray for printing envelopes or feeding some other type of specialty paper or print job to the printer. In addition, you can purchase another 250-sheet paper drawer for an additional $100, which brings the total capacity up to 580 sheets. Having three individual input sources allows you to keep three different types of media at the ready.
You can, for example, put standard paper in one drawer, high-end brochure-quality paper in another, and perhaps the company checks in the override tray. This way, you don’t have to take the printer out of service because somebody in the office needs to print on a different type of paper. (You can get a more detailed review from my Computer Shopper review.
Cost Per Page (CPP)
When you use Epson’s highest-volume, or “XXL,” ink tanks, this little workhorse delivers one of the lowest per-page operational cost, or cost per page I know of. Monochrome, or black-and-white, pages for example, will run you about 1.5 cents each, and color pages will run about 6.6 cents. These numbers are some of the lowest I know of for both inkjet and like-priced laser-class models alike.
This model’s low per-page cost of using it is one of the reasons I recommend the WP-4590 so highly. While it doesn’t come with as many features as some other models, such as those in HP’s 8600 line of high-volume MFPs, if you use it a lot, it can save you a bundle—as described in this following About.com “How to Estimate a Printer’s Cost Per Page” article.
The WP-4590 has been around a little longer than some of HP’s, Bother’s, and OKI Data’s high-volume multifunction printers, so, compared to some of them, it’s a little short of features. It still, however, is one of the cheapest-to-operate high-volume MFPs available; and, as you can see in this About.com’s “When a $150 Printer can Cost You Thousands” article, its low CPPs can, compared to high-volume models, save you a lot of money over the long haul. If you’re looking for an MFP designed to just sit there on your network and churn out inexpensive, good-looking documents and photos for the least amount of ongoing ink costs, look no further.