Two hundred dollars seems to be the least amount of money you'll pay for an Epson WorkForce printer with wireless connectivity. The WorkForce 610 features a built-in 802.11 b/g wireless print server that took about 5 minutes for us to set up and start printing. Unlike other printers that require the user to set up a proxy network, the 610 prompts you to establish a direct wireless connection right out of the box, without the help of a USB or Ethernet cables to muck it up. There's also an Ethernet port on the side of the device for a wired connection to an office network.
The Epson WorkForce 610 printer ships with four separate ink cartridges for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. To factor the most cost-efficient price per page, we're using Epson's XL black and color cartridges that cost $20 and $17, respectively. Based on Epson's posted ink cartridge yields, we determine the cost of printing to be an affordable 2.5 cents per page of black ink and 3.2 cents per color.
Although we're pleased with the components and the build of the 610, we're even bigger fans of Epson's capability to inject a boost of speed into its inkjet printers. The WorkForce 610 registered an impressive 7.31 pages of text per minute, but the 610 pushes even further with 13.24 pages per minute of plain black text. The graphics and presentation speed tests netted similar results, but we noticed a significant drop in photo output speed. However, when printing photos, its speed dipped to less than a page per minute, and the 610 barely makes it out of last place, edging out the HP Officejet J6480 by just 0.06 page per minute. Since the 610 falls under Epson's WorkForce line, it isn't meant to produce lightning quick photo speeds; however, it's something you should know if your business happens to be printing photos.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed||Photo speed (1 sheet)||Color graphics speed||Text speed|
Though we weren't as thrilled with the WorkForce 610's overall print quality, it's certainly better than what you'd get from a public photo kiosk. The internal driver settings let you choose between Photo or Best Photo mode, but keep in mind that you'll wait significantly longer for the finished product with Best Photo. Text quality offers a similar choice between simple Text and a more complex Text and Image mode. We noticed subtle differences between the two, but not nearly enough in our snapshot photos and graphics documents to warrant the use of extra ink.
We're satisfied with the printer's capability to reproduce colors and fine text lines, but many of the color blends in our snapshots obviously suffer from color blocks and an undersaturated haze. Bright colors in prints don't seem to pop as much as they should, which is usually the case with business-oriented printers.
Service and support
Epson backs the Epson WorkForce 610 with a limited one-year warranty that includes toll-free customer support weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. Further support is available online through a model-specific troubleshooting guide, FAQs, e-mail support, driver updates, and document downloads. You can also purchase additional coverage at $20 for an extra year or $30 for two years.
We're disappointed to see that Epson only includes one year of service with this device, considering the Epson Artisan series printers offer a more forgiving two-year warranty. We understand that the Artisan series comes with more features and hardware upgrades, but we have to insist that Epson should strive for user confidence across all product lines.
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