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.
We're pleased with 635's hardware offering, but we're also impressed with Epson's continued effort to push the speed of its inkjet printers. The WorkForce 635 dominated the four other competitive printers in our speed tests in all but the photo speed tests, where it was still able to print a respectable 1.3 snapshot photos per minute. It didn't print quite as slowly as the Canon Pixma MG6120, although we wouldn't recommend either if you're planning to print a large volume of photos. For all other jobs, you can see in the chart below that the WorkForce 635 makes a strong effort.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed||Photo speed||Color graphics speed||Text speed|
We're confident recommending the WorkForce 635's output quality for professional documents like slide shows, spreadsheets, and handouts. The internal driver settings let you choose between Photo or Best Photo mode, but keep in mind that you'll wait 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 for the "Best" modes.
We're generally satisfied with the printer's color reproduction and text character formation, but many of the color blends in our snapshot photos are marred by color blocks and an undersaturated haze. Bright colors in prints don't seem to pop as much as they should, but that's usually the case with business-oriented printers.
Service and support
Epson backs the Epson WorkForce 635 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.
The Epson WorkForce 635 caters to the office crowd with the ability to automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper while still keeping ink replacement costs relatively low. It registers competitive print speeds and our only critique is its sluggish print output. That said, the rest of its buffet of features will leave any business user satisfied with its performance.
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