DEPARTMENTAL WORKHORSE PRINTERS like Epson America Inc.’s WorkForce Pro WF-6590, a multifunction printer that prints, scans, copies, and faxes, make sense for many businesses. Add in wireless networking and high-quality color pages that spit out in a big hurry and those still using personal inkjets will ignore them and route jobs to this Epson.
A Big Printer
This is the biggest Epson printer we’ve seen. In this case, bigger is better. It scans and copies A4-size pages (the scanning surface is an impressive 8.5" x 14", but the glass is actually slightly larger than that) and holds a ream of paper (500 pages) in the hopper. Once users figure out how fast and flexible this unit is, the workload will bump up.
Setting up was simple once we got all the packing tape unstuck. After that, we followed the directions in the Start Here guide. We unpacked, unplugged, and turned on the printer, then configured it through the large touchscreen control panel. It was straightforward and fairly quick to set the language, country, data format, and time.
Ink cartridges for this printer are the large versions. Slightly smaller but thicker than a Blu-ray case, these cartridges can, according to Epson, print up to 14 reams (7,000 sheets) of paper. As with all printing stats, your mileage will vary depending on the content on the printed pages. Compared with the smaller inkjet cartridges that have to be placed deep inside their printers, these are far easier to install.
The printer cranked and whirred and adjusted itself for a few minutes. We skipped the fax setup and loaded the paper into the large tray. The A4 paper required a longer paper tray and bigger paper path, which is one reason this printer is larger than many other MFPs.
Printer administration and client software doesn’t ship on a CD-ROM like the old days, but as a download link in the Start Here guide. The administration software appears to be the same set of modules and utilities we’ve seen for other Epson MFPs. We loaded the software, agreed to the EULA, and chose to install over the LAN connection rather than the USB or wireless options. We set the printer static IP address (our preference, but you can let it grab an IP address from your Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server) and listed two Domain Name Service IP server addresses. Since we had an Epson Connect (the company’s cloud services portal) account from an earlier product test, it was easy to set up an email address for this particular printer. Google Print support is also included.
The printer test page looked good, and when we say good we mean darn good. The black text on the test page was so sharp it’s hard to tell the difference between this inkjet and a laser printer with the naked eye.
A Big Job Handler
The WF-6590 is a big printer for big jobs. Print jobs start spitting out about 10 seconds after hitting the Enter key. That is from a cold start, not warmed up. An older Samsung mono laser printer in the lab takes about 40 seconds for the first print job to start as it warms up the fusing wire. But the Epson starts in 10 seconds whether the printer is warmed up or fast asleep.
Print quality? Outstanding. Even on cheap paper we could see details like stray hairs in photos. When printing or copying a large block of a solid color, there was no striping like you see with some inkjets. Each page appeared quickly with high quality.
The Windows 10 PC with administration and configuration software could print and scan immediately since all the client software was installed along with the admin utilities. A second Windows 10 PC loaded the much smaller client software drivers, and could easily send print jobs as well. The second one connected wirelessly, and from Enter to printed paper seemed no longer without wires than with. But you must choose: wired or wireless.
Security concerns for sensitive output? You can assign PIN number certification, and the printer will refuse to release the job without the PIN. Management concerns? Browse to the printer’s IP address and control every detail. And the printer supports remote data collection of, for example, ink cartridge levels, so your print management software will be happy.)
The printer supports Direct Wi-Fi to print from smartphones and tablets, but is limited to four directly connected devices, and the software can be picky. With the inclusion of printing from email, we doubt many users will want to use Direct Wi-Fi.