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If you don't like hanging around for your print jobs to finish, the WP-4535 DWF from Epson might be right up your street.
Priced at around £200, this multi-function inkjet model promises lightning-fast print speeds. It also offers a broad range of features including duplex printing and copying, fax and low running costs.
The WP-4535 DWF doesn't look all that different to a whole host of other multi-function models on the market. Its matte black finish gives it a very businesslike look. The sloping control panel at the front includes not just a colour screen, but also a range of dedicated buttons for functions like scanning, copying and faxing.
The printer has two input trays. The vertical one at the rear can hold up to 100 sheets and is likely to be primarily used for printing photos and envelopes. At the bottom of the chassis is a large cassette-style tray that can handle up to 250 sheets. The output tray is a three-part telescopic design. As it's made from lightweight plastic, it feels quite flimsy.
This model is primarily designed for business use so there's no memory card reader on the front, but it does have a USB port that lets you print directly from files on USB keys or hard drives.
The four chunky cartridges that the WP-4535 DWF uses are a cinch to install. Just pull down the flap at the front and push each one into its holder on the left-hand side of the unit. They slot into place with a firm click, so you can't go wrong.
When you're loading up the software driver on your PC you can choose whether you want to connect the printer into your network using Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Alternatively you can hook it up directly to a single machine via USB. The installation software checks for the latest firmware for the printer and automatically installs it if it's not up to date.
The scanner produces good quality results at a fairly fast pace. The top of the scanner is home to an automatic document feeder that includes duplex support, so you can scan or fax multi-page documents and even double-sided sheets.
This model is also pretty speedy to use for photocopying. It managed to copy our test sheet in just 14 seconds, which is four to five seconds faster than most inkjet models. Copy quality really was excellent and a very close replication of the original document.
Epson may have made bold claims about this printer's speed and it largely lives up to them. In fact, when it comes to document printing, it is -- by some way -- the fastest inkjet model we've tested. Our 10-page black text document took just 44 seconds to print and it managed a five-page duplex version of the same document in a mere 1 minute and 17 seconds.
It's hugely speedy when dealing with colour graphics as well. It pumped out our 10-page business presentation in 1 minute and 39 seconds, while our 10-page graphics test took just 1 minute and 43 seconds. These speeds are nearly twice as fast as the majority of the competition.
What's remarkable is that it achieves these speeds without negatively affecting print quality. Text looks truly first class and very sharp and precise on the page -- so sharp, in fact, that it could be mistaken for laser quality output. Detail on our graphics test sheet was also excellent, while our business document had bright and punchy colours, with no banding in large blocks of colour.
Photo prints are a little lacking compared to a similarly-priced photo printer, but they're still more than acceptable for business use.
Epson is pitching this model as an alternative to a laser printer. The big benefit of laser models is their low running costs, so if the WP-4535 DWF is to be a serious alternative, it needs to be cheap to run.
Thankfully that proves to be the case. Using the T702 XL inks, it works out at 1.9p per page for black and white documents and 4.6p per page for colour sheets. That's cheap, not just by inkjet standards, but also compared to most laser machines.
We were pretty sceptical of Epson's claims that this inkjet model could rival the speed and quality of a colour laser. However, we were happy to be proved wrong as the WP-4535 DWF produces very clean output at lightning speed.
It's also economical to run, has a great line up of features and is a bargain at just £200. Those who need to print colour business documents on a regular basis really need to check it out.