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World's Fastest Duplex Prints? Depends on What Mode You Choose

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Epson Workforce 845 All-in-One Printer

Epson Workforce 845 All-in-One Printer

Photo courtesy Epson
Mac users may be miffed that they can't load drivers (or any of the software included on the CD) directly from the CD if they are using Lion; rather, they have to go to Epson's Web site and download the drivers and any extra software they want, which was a bit of a tedious process (took a long time to download and to install). I also found the wireless setup via the unit's keyboard a bit of a chore compared to other wireless printers--the awkward use of the up / down buttons to cycle through numbers and symbols, or through the alphabet, left a lot to be desired. Finally, this printer is not particularly fast, with 4x6 photos taking a seeming lifetime to print. However, I liked having the ability to print easily via the cloud (using the printer's special email address) as well as from mobile devices. It's not the smallest all-in-one printer out there, but the quality makes up for its rather larger form factor.

Speed

Printing a single page of a Word document took 19 seconds. A four-page Excel document took 58 seconds to print, with the first page out in about 24 seconds (less than 12 seconds a page once that first page was finished). So that first-page time is not particularly impressive, but once the printer gets going, it's about on par with other all-in-one printers such as the similarly priced Epson Artisan 835 All-in-One and even faster than the cheaper but smaller HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One.

Want faster print times, perhaps in line with the 15 pages per minute promised by Epson (which says the WorkForce 845 has the "world's fastest two-sided print speeds"? Try switching to the Fast Economy mode, which serves as an ultra-fast Draft mode. It still took 17 seconds for a first page to come out, but the whole four-page job was done in only 26 seconds, which is an astonishing three seconds per page. The good news? Black fonts looked just fine at this speed; not perfect of course, but not a weak, barely visible gray as sometimes can be seen at draft mode. The bad news is that, not unexpectedly, color graphics are just barely colored. Still, I'd recommend this or the normal Economy mode for most jobs, since it will save you time and ink. Want to save paper, too? Switch to automatic duplex printing. At the Fast Economy setting, the four-page job took 46 seconds.

Printing photos? Start making coffee, since this will take a while. The first 4x6 picture I printed took about 2:18 at the default quality. I had printed a matte border and thought perhaps that was the reason it took so long to print, so I printed another one, sans border. The result? 2:32. That's not a very competitive time.

Quality

Epson WorkForce 845 All-in-One Wireless Printer

Epson WorkForce 845 All-in-One Wireless Printer Size

Photo courtesy Epson
In terms of the quality of black text, there were no problems to be seen. Text looked sharp and clear at all sizes and there was little or no problem with bleeding into the page. Some bright colors in graphics, in particular yellow, seemed somewhat over saturated and bright.

As mentioned above, this printer needs a lot of time to print a 4x6 (or other size) photo. Is it worth the long wait? I'd have to say yes. The quality of the final printed photograph was consistent with the quality I've seen from other all-in-one printers, which is to say excellent.

Bells and Whistles

You want it, it's got it. From built-in wireless to an automatic document feeder and automatic duplex printing, this printing offers everything you could want in an all-in-one printer, plus more. I liked having multiple card slots (SD, xD, MS Pro, and so on, as well as PictBridge) on the front corner of the printer where they could be easily accessed. The control panel is a large, 7.8-inch tillable touch panel that features large and easy to read icons. With such a large panel, it was a bit disappointing to have such a clumsy way of scrolling through letters (upper and lower case) and numbers to enter my password information when it came time to set up the Wi-Fi connection--this process took more time and effort than with other all-in-ones.

A very nice feature of the WorkForce 845 is its ability to print via the cloud using Epson Connect Email Print, iPrint, Apple AirPrint, and Google Cloud Print. These features are increasingly available in wireless printers, and it's good to see Epson making them standard features in their printers.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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