Epson WorkForce WF-2540 review: Epson's latest all-in-one outdistances the competition

You can connect directly through USB (cable not included), a hardwired Ethernet cord, or a wireless 802.11 b/g/n access point. Easy enough, but Google and Apple users can streamline the process further using Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. Although the documentation recommends you follow the instructions on the driver disc that's included in the box, I chose to pair the printer using the onscreen guide directly on the unit.

From there, the software installation automatically recognized the connection and asked if I was ready to set up the Epson Connect feature. This lets you e-mail a document to the printer from any connected device including laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and it automatically adjusts the image or text page to fit the dimensions of your media, eliminating the bad crop jobs that mar competing services.

The WF-2540 is powered internally by four separate ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) that save you the cost and inconvenience of having to replace a tricolor ink tank. I did the math based on Epson's high-capacity ink cartridges that offer more ink at a discounted price, and a page of color ink works out to 7.2 cents per page, while a high-capacity black cartridge comes to approximately 3 cents per page. Both costs are average for an inkjet printer at this price.

Performance
The WorkForce WF-2540 earns top marks across all four print speed tests, logging the fastest lead in text speed with a competition-crushing 12.72 pages per minute (PPM). The Canon Pixma MX372 and the Brother MFC-J4510DW fared equally well in second place, but the Epson WorkForce wins the overwhelming majority of the speed tests, which means you'll never wait too long for a print project.

The WF-2540 also gave outstanding performance from a qualitative point of view, producing black text prints that easily compete with the crispness of expensive laser printers, even at smaller text sizes. Full-color graphics and presentations fared equally well, and quiet offices will certainly benefit from the printer's whisper-quiet operation sounds, which are easily drowned out by clicking keyboards and soft conversation. Compared with irritatingly loud devices that make their scanning, spooling, and printing processes well-known, the WorkForce WF-2540's stealthy operation is a satisfying alternative.

Speed test (in pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Text Speed (PPM)  
Graphics Speed (PPM)  
Photo Speed (1 Sheet)  
Presentation Speed (PPM)  
Kodak Office Hero 6.1
4.94 
2.06 
1.08 
1.43 
Canon Pixma MX372
5.63 
1.8 
1.62 
2.57 
HP Photosmart 7510
6.46 
3.86 
1.3 
6.45 
Brother MFC-J4510DW
6.71 
4.2 
1.14 
6.19 
Epson WorkForce WF-2540
12.72 
3.95 
2.76 
6.94 

Service and support
Epson backs the WorkForce WF-2540 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 exchange/repair coverage at $39.95 for one year or $59.95 for two years.

Conclusion
The Epson WorkForce WF-2540 excels in all manner of printing operations and has all the extras you need in terms of cloud printing and mobile printing software, as well as double-sided paper conversion and speedy performance. If you're a small office shopping for a do-it-all output machine, the WorkForce WF-2540 gets the job done.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Type fax / copier / printer / scanner
  • Printing Technology ink-jet
  • Max Original Size Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)
  • Optical Resolution 1200 x 2400 dpi
  • Functions printer
About The Author

Justin Yu covers headphones and peripherals for CNET. When he's not wading through Web gulch or challenging colleagues to typing tests, you can find him making fun of technology with Jeff Bakalar every afternoon on The 404 show.