Epson’s range of small-office and home-office multi-function devices goes up to the £260 Epson WorkForce WF-2830, which has lots of extras.
The much more affordable WorkForce WF-2830 has good features, including an automatic document feeder (ADF), for copying, faxing and scanning multi-page documents, and full fax functions, including quick-dial buttons.
The all-black case follows Epson’s curvy-topped style, which integrates the ADF into the whole device, and the control panel was simple, but effective.
The screen is a two-line by 16-character, text-only panel, with no backlight, but it was readable under normal lighting.
There’s a four-way navigation button under this and a number pad to its right for dialling fax numbers.
A single paper-feed tray at the back can take around 100 sheets and paper feeds through to an extending tray at the front.
There isn’t a front panel USB socket or any memory card slots, so photo printing (and any other printing) will require a computer.
It connects to the computer over USB or wireless network and there’s a phone connection for the fax.
The wireless connection was easy to set up using the front-panel buttons.
As usual, the manufacturer’s claimed print speeds are outlandish: Epson reckons on 34 pages per minute (ppm) for black text and 15ppm for colour.
Our real-world tests returned a maximum of 3.8ppm when printing a 20-page text-only document and, on mixed text and colour pages, it managed only 1.3ppm. These are both slow, even for a device this cheap.
The Efficiency of the Printer
Copying and photo printing weren’t much faster, with a single-page colour copy taking just under 55 seconds and a five-page copy from the ADF completing in 94 seconds. A 15x10cm photo took over 90 seconds too.
Black text on plain paper came out a bit fuzzy, as the ink tended to bleed into the paper fibres, and there were some jagged edges to curves and diagonals in characters, but this was really only visible under close examination.
Photo prints were up to Epson’s usual high standards, with good colour rendition and plenty of detail.
Colour scans too were reasonably true to the originals and this was reflected in the quality of copies and faxes, too.
Once again, though, they were not particularly quick.
There are four ink cartridges in this printer, one for each of the standard colours, and they’re available in two different sizes.
The smaller ones give about 180 standard pages, but even the ‘high-yield’ versions only offer around 400.
At internet prices, you’re likely to be paying 2.6p for black and 9.5p for colour pages.
Neither of these costs is particularly good, even for a comparatively cheap all-in-one (it’s available online for under £60) such as the WorkForce WF-2830.