Epson’s newest entry in the multifunction market is their $199.99 WF-3540. The WF stands for WorkForce, and these devices are really meant for a small or home-based business because of the dual paper trays, wireless access, and a duty cycle of 12,000 pages. The duty cycle is a tool used by manufacturers to indicate the absolute maximum number of pages you might be able to print through a device without it dying – I’ve always divided that number in half as a more reasonable estimate. Realistically, if someone were to push about 1000 pages through it a month they’d get lots of life and value from this multifunction.
The WF-3540 prints, faxes, copies and scans – perfect for the small business. It’s a screamer in terms of print speed, churning our black and white letter-sized pages at a rate of about 15 pages per minute (PPM), and colour at about 9.3 PPM. It has duplexing capabilities, which is a huge bonus, and it’ll shoot black and white duplexed pages out at a rate of 7.4 PPM, and colour at 5.4 PPM.
It uses four colour printing, with separate tanks for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The extra high-capacity ink tanks retail for $23.00CAD per colour, and $33.00CAD for black. You can get multi-packs of all the inks for about $63.00CAD.
The Fax option offers 33.6 Kpbs – as fast as 3 seconds per page and it’ll fax both black and white and colour. I don’t ever use faxes any more so didn’t test that function, so I can’t really comment on how well that particular feature works.
Scanning, however, I can comment on. The WF-3540 scans in colour and black and white at a maximum resolution of 9600 dpi (interpolated). The optical resolution is 2400 dpi and it has an automatic duplexing document feeder, which I love. It’ll scan to PC, PDF or E-mail, and what really impresses me is the speed it scans and quality of image it produces.
The WF-3540 comes with two paper trays with a combined capacity of 500 sheets and will print on a wide range of different types and qualities of paper. There’s also an automatic 30-sheet feeder.
The WF-3540 isn’t small, so a home user will need significant desk space for this baby. It’s 45cm W x 56.4cm D x 30.7cm H and weighs in at 10.9kg. It’s fairly quiet for a printer that processes so quickly, and the sound level while running is about 38dB(A) – the sound will get lost in an office but you’ll hear it in a home office.
The 3.2” touchscreen with gesture navigation on the front panel is a treat to use; very sensitive to the touch and instant access to all the functions. I always set printers up to use Wi-Fi so I never have to worry about computers having to be on, and setting the WF-3540 up takes about five minutes. The process is very well presented and easy to do for any user, and the touchpad really helps in this case.
You can connect directly through USB (which is not included), a Ethernet, or 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.
The WF-3540 works with either PCs running Windows XP and up or Macs running OSX 10.5 and up. It offers wireless printing from mobile Android or iOS devices via EPSON Connect, AirPrint or Google Cloud Print, and it’ll support just about every type of memory card on the market.
This multifunction is all about speed, durability, print quality, flexibility and ease of use and is worth having a look at if you’re in the market for a new multifunction..
PROS: VERY fast; great duty cycle; easy Wi-Fi setup; supports AirPrint and Google Cloud Print; decent price; auto duplexing.
CONS: Big for home use; a bit noisy for home use; the LCD is fixed – it’d be nice if it pivoted.
TO SUM IT UP: This is a very rugged multifunction device with a tremendous duty cycle and amazing speed. The quality of printing is excellent, and the Epson DURABrite Ultra ink used offers instant drying (so no smudging) and it’s fade and water resistant. The MF-3540 is well-priced and consumables are also a decent price so this multifunction is a winner for anyone with a small or home based-business – or anyone who wants to have a really solid printer to use.