Epson’s WorkForce Pro range traditionally offers big, bulky printers aimed at busy offices and workgroups that need a real workhorse printer for everyday use.
The WorkForce Pro WF-4720DWF, however, is part of a new range that is designed for ‘micro-businesses’, such as home workers and small offices, who need a more compact printer that can still handle a decent workload.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720DWF: Price
It’s not the cheapest inkjet printer around, costing £190 if you buy it direct from Epson, but that’s still not too bad for a printer that promises speeds of up to 20ppm.
We’ve also seen it for £140 from Amazon, and Epson has also been running some special offers, so the WF-4720DWF is still fairly competitive for a speedy little office printer – especially as it includes a fax machine and automatic document feeder, along with the standard print, scan and copy functions.
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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720DWF: Features and design
At first glance, the WorkForce Pro WF-4720DWF looks like a fairly conventional home printer, measuring just 249mm high, 425mm wide, and 378mm deep.
It will sit quite comfortably on a desk alongside a PC or Mac, yet Epson still manages to cram a good set of business-friendly features into that compact design.
As well as the printer’s 1200x4800dpi resolution, the WF-4720DWF also includes a 1200dpi scanner and copier, and fax machine.
It’s well connected, with USB, Wi-Fi and Ethernet for wired office networks, along with support for Apple’s AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Epson’s own Connect app for everyone else.
The paper tray in the base of the printer holds 250 sheets of paper, which should be more than adequate for most small businesses, along with a 35-sheet document feeder up on top, and it provides two-sided (duplex) printing too.
We also like the fact that the printer is relatively quiet. It only makes a low whirring noise as the print mechanism zips back and forth, so you can print all day long without worrying about too much noise in your office. It’s a shame, though, that there’s no secondary tray or manual paper feed that would allow you to quickly print the occasional envelope or glossy photo.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720DWF: Performance
Epson claims a print speed of 20 pages per minute for both black and white and colour. Our test results actually came in at 18ppm for both types of document.
That’s still quite impressive – especially the colour printing – for an inkjet printer in this price range, and the WF-4720DWF will certainly be able to handle the printing workload of most small businesses.
Text quality is excellent, with smoothly outlined text that genuinely rivals the quality of a laser printer. Colour graphics are good too, and the WF-4720DWF will be perfectly adequate for presentations handouts and marketing brochures.
Photo quality is only average though, even when using glossy photo papers, so if you want to print high-quality photos of your latest invention, or just churn out a few holiday snaps, you might want to look elsewhere.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720DWF: Running costs
You might also get a bit of a shock when you see the cost of Epson’s replacement ink cartridges. The standard-size black and colour cartridges cost £26.99 for black ink and £18.99 for the three (separate) cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges, giving a total cost of £83.96 for a complete set of all four inks.
And, if you opt for the high-yield XL cartridges, those costs rise to £48.99 for black and £29.99 each for colour, which comes to a hefty total of £138.96.
Those prices may put you off at first, but there is some good news here. Most printer cartridges only last for a few hundred pages – even with their larger XL cartridges – but the cartridges for the WF-4720DWF justify their high price with much higher page yields.
The standard black cartridges last for 900 pages, while the XL cartridges last for a full 2,600 pages. That works out at 3p per page for the standard black cartridges, which is a little above average, but comes down to a very competitive 1.9p per page with the XL cartridges.
Colour printing is good too, with the 650-page yield of the standard-size cartridges working out at a reasonable 8.8p per page. The XL cartridges last for 1900 pages, which brings the price down to a really attractive 4.7p per page.
So while the up-front cost of the cartridges is a bit alarming, the longer-term running costs of the WF-4720DWF are actually very competitive.