Printers mightn’t be the most exciting tech on offer but every once in a while something interesting pops up. Epson reckon this time they’ve got something to crow about. The big deal in this case is their new PrecisionCore printhead technology. In theory it makes for speedy print output and print quality rivalling that of a colour laser printer.
PrecisionCore isn’t new. It launched last year in a range of Epson commercial print gear. This time round, Epson has put PrecisionCore tech in the WF-3640, an All-in-One multi-function printer aimed at small businesses or a home office.
The WF-3640 is the Swiss army knife of printers. It can print, copy, scan, and fax. It also sports a bunch of premium features such as its PrecisionCore printhead, wireless connectivity and smartphone compatibility along with several other bits and bobs.
Look and FeelThe WF-3640 looks a lot like other multi-function printers. Its exterior mightn't be all that exciting, but there is cool stuff is inside. Most notable is the PrecisionCore printhead. The big deal is that it contains a higher number of nozzles than on other Epson inkjet printheads.
In non-jargon speak the WF-3640 uses smaller ink droplets. This results in more detailed images plus a wider range of colours and faster ink drying times. Most important of all it’ll deliver pretty zippy print speeds too.
Unboxing The WF-3640 my first thoughts are, "wow, it’s big!” But it is tiny compared to the space that'd otherwise be consumed by a standalone copier, scanner, and fax plus printer.
It comes with four starter ink cartridges, an AC power cord, and installation CD. There are no USB or Ethernet cables in its box. This won't be a problem for those connecting over Wi-Fi but could be frustrating for those wanting a more reliable and secure wired connection.
The addition of fax functionality is interesting. Many readers under a certain age have most likely never sent a fax, but some businesses do still use them. It is also possible to scan and email directly from the WF-3640.
So what do you get for the sticker price? For a start you get three paper inputs. There are two paper drawers (each holds 250-sheets) plus there’s a rear paper slot for card stock, or envelopes. The extra paper drawers make the WF-3640 larger, but they also add to its versatility.
Duplexing (printing on both sides of the paper) is also baked into the printer. The WF-3640 can also take XL-sized ink cartridges which have enough ink for approximately 1,100 pages.
Driving the Wf-3640 was a doddle thanks to its 3.5” colour LCD touchscreen. Navigating between functions was intuitive enough to be a manual-free experience.
Shutter bugs should also note that there's an SD Card slot plus a USB port. Both of which are dead handy for printing images from a digital camera or an SD card.
In UseGetting connected proved to be a breeze. Not only is there a USB connection for a single PC, you can connect the WF-3640 to a network using Ethernet, or Wi-Fi. If your smartphone has Wi-Fi Direct, it’ll be able to zap documents to the WF-3640 too. You can also connect to the WF-3640 online using Epson Connect, Apple AirPrint, or Google Cloud Print.
Setup, was dead easy. Unpacking I installed the ink cartridges and the WF-3640 took 5 minutes to calibrate itself. While this was happening I used the downtime to install the drivers from the supplied CD. Total set-up time was just shy of 16 minutes.
The Epson blurb has the WF-3640 rated at an output speed of 19 pages per minute for single sided monochrome print and 10 ppm for single sided colour output. Printing out a letterhead consisting of black text and a small colour logo, the WF-3640 managed a zippy 15 ppm.
This isn’t too shabby for an inkjet printer, especially at this sticker price. Scans were excellent, although I did find the copy function to be a bit sluggish.
I was also impressed by the WF-3640's print quality. Photos looked great on Glossy Photo Paper and were passable on bog-standard plain paper. Text was crisp and almost laser-like. Colour-printed logos and graphics were crisp, with no noticeable colour-banding or other defects.
Although Epson mightn't promote the WF-3640 as a photo printer, but it produced photo quality prints on photo paper. All told the Wf-3640 did a terrific job with print output.
VerdictThe WF-3640 may be intended for small business users, but it’s also an excellent choice as a home printer. Fast print speeds and excellent output make it a great choice for the home. The WF-3640 may command a price premium given the ultra-affordable nature of multi-function inkjets, but it also delivers premium performance.
Tech SpecsRRP: $399 inc GSTPrint Speed: Black: 19 ppm, Color: 10 ppm, 2-Sided Black: 9.2 ppm, Color 6.3 ppmCopy: ISO Copy Speed: Black 17.0 cpm / Color 9.0 cpmMaximum Copy Size: 8.5" x 14" (PC-free)Scanner Type: Colour flatbed/Automatic 2-sided ADF 2400 dpi - 9600 dpi (interpolated)48-bit colour input / 24-bit color outputFax: Black &white/colourFax Speed: 33.6 KbpsFax Memory: 180 pagesFax Speed Dials: 100 Paper Handling: Plain: Letter, Legal, A4, Photo: Letter, A4, 8" x 10", 5" x 7", 4" x 6"Maximum Paper Size: 8.5" x 47.2"Paper Capacity: 500 sheets plain paper (250 sheets plain paper x 2 trays)10 envelopes, 20 sheets photo paper, Rear feed: 1 sheetInk Type: DURABrite Ultra pigment ink (smudge, fade and water resistant), Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and BlackFade Resistance/Longevity: Up to 118 yearsReplacement Cartridges: 252 Standard-capacity Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow3, 252XL High-capacity Black, Cyan, Magenta, YellowStandard-capacity Black (T252120): About 350 pagesStandard-capacity Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow (T252220, T252320, T252420): About 300 pages per colour, High-capacity Black (T252XL120): About 1100 pages, High-capacity Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow (T252XL220, T252XL320, T252XL420): About 1100 pages per colourConnectivity: Hi-Speed USB, Wireless (802.11 b/g/n), Wired Ethernet (10/100 Mbps), Wi-Fi DirectSupported Memory Cards: MagicGate Memory Stick Duo™, Memory Stick Duo™ (With Adapter), Memory Stick PRO Duo™, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick Micro M2 (With Adapter), SD™ , SDHC, SDXC™, Micro SDXC (With Adapter), Mini SD (With Adapter), Mini SDHC (With Adapter), Micro SD (With Adapter), Micro SDHC (With Adapter)
Remote or Mobile Printing: Epson Connect™: Epson® Email Print, Epson iPrint™ Mobile App, Epson Remote Print5, Kindle Fire™, Apple® AirPrint™, Google Cloud Print™Supported OS: Windows® 8.x (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows Vista® (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows XP® SP3 (32-bit), Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Mac OS®X 10.5.8 — 10.9.x6, Windows Server® 2012 R27, Windows Server 20127, Windows Server 2008 R27, Windows Server 20087, Windows Server 2003 R27, Windows Server 20037Input: Touch Panel: 3.5" colour touchscreenPrinter Language: EPSON ESC/P®-ROperating Temperature: 10°c to 35°