The $200 Epson WorkForce 635 proves itself a capable performer for small offices that want a do-it-all device that can print, fax, copy, and scan without any fussing around with a clumsy touch-screen control panel. Epson also continues to outgun the competition in print speed, leading its category in our document printing tests. We recommend amateur photographers seek out alternative devices, but office-friendly features like an autodocument feeder, an autoduplexer, and inexpensive ink replacement cartridges earn the Epson WorkForce 635 our full endorsement.
Design and features
The WorkForce 630 fits in tight spaces thanks to its compact design that measures just less than 18 inches wide, 14 inches deep, and 9 inches tall in storage mode with the moving control panel, autodocument feeder (ADF), and paper trays all folded flush into the rectangular unit. The standard color scheme for Epson's WorkForce multifunction printer line is an office-appropriate matte black, with a dot-patterned scanner lid and minimal gloss to prevent dust from gathering on the device.
A robust control panel folds out of the printer's middle section and can rotate up and down for optimal visibility on your desk space. A 2.5-inch LCD is your hub for controlling the printer's multiple functions. With many modern printers insisting users interact via touch-screen LCDs and virtual LCD buttons, we're glad to see that not every printer has adopted this trend.
In this case, the control panel bundles several tactile shortcut buttons you need to increase workday productivity with specific action functions like toggling double-sided prints with the rear-mounted autoduplexer, a hard reset button, and individual buttons for fax and scanning features. You also get a standard four-way directional pad and an OK button for navigating through the menu settings.
The controls are comprehensive and easy to use in conjunction with the Epson driver that comes on the CD included in the box. Other physical features of note include a media card reader on the front panel that supports Compact Flash, MS (PRO), xD, and SD memory cards, and a PictBridge USB port for direct printing and saving images directly off a PictBridge-compatible thumbdrive.
Just above the control panel, you'll find two hinged bays that expose the 2,400-by-2,400-dpi scanner glass and four-ink repository for separate black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges. The scanning functions let you save an image to a specific file folder, as a PDF document in a folder, or as an attachment to an outgoing e-mail message. The WorkForce 635 also benefits from a 30-sheet ADF on its top that automatically picks up individual sheets from a stack in the tray.
Any multifunction or all-in-one printer for businesses should include an ADF, but keep in mind that feeders always add bulk to the printer. When you're not copying or faxing stacks of paper, consider keeping the ADF folded up and storing the extra sheets of paper in the ample input tray, which can hold up to a considerable 250 sheets of plain 20-pound white paper or 10 envelopes. Finally, an extendable lip on the bottom of the printer corrals all outbound prints.
Two hundred dollars seems to be the least amount of money you'll pay for an Epson WorkForce printer with wireless connectivity. The WorkForce 635 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 you to set up a proxy network, the 635 prompts you to establish a direct wireless connection right out of the box, without the help of 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 a network.
The Epson WorkForce 635 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 determined the cost of printing to be an affordable 2.5 cents per page of black ink and 3.2 cents per color.