Epson WorkForce WF-3540 review: A printer suitable for big business

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The Good The Epson WorkForce WF-3540 workhorse multifunction is built for performance with cloud printing capabilities, extra-large-capacity ink cartridges, dual 250-sheet paper trays, an intuitive touch-screen display, and an external USB port for standalone copying and scanning.

The Bad The 3.5-inch touch-screen display works well with gesture navigation, but its fixed angle inhibits its usability in higher positions.

The Bottom Line Complete with wireless access, remote printing in the cloud, an interactive touch screen, and several paper trays, the Epson WorkForce WF-3540 is well-prepared to handle large workloads for home offices, corporate teams, and everything in between.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

The Epson WorkForce WF-3540 bundles an array of useful features to keep your office productive, including a top-loading auto document feeder, dual paper input trays, extra-large-capacity ink cartridges, and cloud printing access by way of Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, and Epson Connect. Additionally, the WF-3540's gesture-controlled display and external USB port encourage people to walk up and use the machine regardless of whether it's connected to the Web -- that means workers can save images and documents on an external storage device for future projects.

Partnered with separate ink tanks, affordable ink refill costs, and a generous helping of included software to guide you through any project, the Epson WorkForce WF-3540 is a worthwhile investment for any business shopping for a four-in-one imaging device.

Design and features
You'll need plenty of space to set up the WorkForce WF-3540, which is 17.7 inches long, 22.2 inches deep, and 12.1 inches high; the dual paper trays on the bottom contribute to its large footprint. Also keep in mind that you'll need to keep the printer no higher than eye level, as the control panel in the center that houses the 3.5-inch touch screen doesn't rotate up flush with the unit. The paper output tray in the center also folds out few inches to corral outbound prints, but there's no question that this machine jams a generous amount of features into a relatively small space.

Sarah Tew/CNET

You'll find the control panel just below the scanner bay with prominent access to the 3.5-inch LCD screen in the center. The machine has only one physical button, the power button the left -- the rest of the functions light up virtually, either on the screen itself or as brightly lit icons that illuminate on an as-needed basis on the right. The gesture-based navigation menus operate intuitively, and shouldn't be a problem for anyone who feels at ease with a smartphone. You can calibrate the screen's touch sensitivity in the virtual settings menu.

The flatbed scanner and 30-sheet auto document feeder (ADF) sit at the top of the unit, and there's an adjustable latch that moves back and forth on the ADF to hold paper sizes up to 8.5x14 inches. The ADF also does double-sided printing duties with a built-in duplexer that automatically flips paper over. The back lip of the WF-3540 also pops out to reveal a single-sheet manual feed tray that allows atypically sized media like thick card stock and envelopes to pass easily across the print head.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Thankfully, Epson built the scanner lid with stronger hinges than it uses on cheaper models, the lids of which have a tendency to fall down unexpectedly. Instead, the WF-3540's lid locks into a vertical position perpendicular to the scanning bay that feels more securely fastened than its low-cost counterparts. The software included on the driver CD in the box also lets you operate the scanner autonomously from the printer, with PC, PDF, and e-mail delivery options. The WF-3540 delivers on its promise of quick, reliable print jobs with a generous helping of features on the side. The most unsung accessory on the printer is the USB port just below the power button and the control panel. Though Epson recommends you connect the machine to a Wi-Fi network to get access to cloud printing and the mobile app, USB access gives you a way to interact with the machine as a standalone copier and scanner in case of an Internet outage.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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