Using the WorkForce 840
The WorkForce 840 delivers high-speed, automatic, two-sided color printing, copying, scanning and faxing. It is easy to navigate the printer through its large control panel. As shown in Figure 11, the 3.5-inch touchscreen is lit in white, amber, and orange, while the touch controls are lit in amber.
There are eight main menu categories: Copy, Fax, Scan, Print Photo, Print Ruled Paper, and Setup are on the first page. Press the right-facing arrow to get to the second page which has the Back Up Data (to memory card) and the Problem Solver choices. When you choose any main category, the appropriate options are lit on the sides of the control panel. These are also touch-sensitive. Press the Home button to return to the main screen at any time. The navigation is intuitive and the touchscreen is responsive.
Paper handling is excellent. During several months of testing, we did not encounter any paper jams. The automatic two-sided printing also worked well on both the PC and the Mac. Although each paper tray holds 250 sheets, when the paper in tray one is used, you must switch to tray two in the printer software. It would be nice if this would happen automatically when using standard size paper.
Black text on plain paper looked very good. Only very close inspection revealed the slightly softened edges that are indicative of an ink jet rather than a laser printer. The instant-dry DURABrite Ultra Ink produces prints that are dry to the touch right out of the printer.
Color graphics and/or photos on plain paper were slightly faded, but looked very good when printed on Epson photo paper.
There are several apps that let you print directly from an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or other mobile device.
The 48-bit color flatbed scanner has a maximum scan resolution of up to 9600 x 9600 dpi (interpolated). Its scanner works well and has the ability to scan paper as large as A4. The cover is hinged, allowing for easy scanning of thick documents and books. Although most of our computers were able to scan from the unit or from the Epson Scan utility on the computer, we found we were unable to scan from one of our networked computers unless we started the software first. Also, while all our PCs were able to scan through the network connection, our Mac running the Lion operating system could only scan when attached by a USB cable. Scan features include: Scan-to-PC, Scan-to-PDF and Scan-to-Email.
One nice additional feature is that the scanner automatically senses multiple images and divides them into separate files during the preview. Another feature is that it can print or copy multiple pages onto a single sheet.
Epson claims up to 15 ppm in black and white, and 9.3 ppm in color; we were able to get speeds just under that. Epson also claims that the WorkForce 840 is the world’s fastest all-in-one. In a side-by-side testing, we found the Epson B510DN to be slightly faster, but even with several people printing to the WorkForce 840 at the same time, the speed of the WorkForce 840 didn’t disappoint.
Faxing can be done from the device’s on-screen keyboard or from your computer with PC Fax. (We did not test faxing from the Mac.) You can fax in black-and-white or color. At 33.6 Kbps faxing is speedy. Fax amenities include 60 speed-dial numbers and a memory that holds up to 180 pages.
Epson calls its smallest-capacity cartridge size “high-capacity.” Since the black high-capacity cartridge prints 385 pages and the color prints about 470 pages, we couldn’t argue with that nomenclature. A high-capacity black cartridge costs USD 18.04, or 4.7 cents per page. Each color costs USD 15.19 which works out to 3.2 cents per page.
Epson also has extra high-capacity ink cartridges that print 945 pages for black and 755 for color. At USD 28.49, the black extra-high-capacity per page cost is three cents. The color extra-high-capacity cost per page is 2.4 cents.