Review: Epson WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One Printer

PrecisionCore-Based Office-Centric Inkjet Printer

Epson WF-3640 All-in-One Printer
Epson

Most of Epson's PrecisionCore-based Workforce all-in-one (AIO) printers are high-volume WorkForce "Pro" models. A few of them, including the WorkForce WF-3620 All-in-One and the WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One (the subject of this review), are instead small- and home-based office multifunction office printers. Mostly, these two WorkForce MFPs are essentially the same, with the primary difference between them is that the more-expensive WF-3640 has two paper drawers.

Like HP’s PageWide technology, PrecisionCore is a new alternative printhead technology faster and cheaper to use than printers based on standard inkjet mechanisms, as well as several entry-level and midrange laser-class machines.

Design and Features

Aside from the PrecisionCore printhead and a few other modernization features, the WF-3640 is a lot like its predecessor, the WF-3540. It measures 17.7 inches across, 22.2 inches from front to back, and 12.1 inches high, and it weighs 25.4 pounds. It’s a bit big for a desktop machine but would probably fit on the average desktop. If not, it’s equipped with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, thereby making it easy to find a suitable place to set it up.

As for convenience and productivity features, the WF-3640 is loaded. As mentioned, it has two spacious (250-sheet) input drawers, as well as a single-sheet override tray on the back for turning out one-off envelopes, or perhaps forms or labels. The advantage, of course, of having so many input sources is that you can stock them with different paper types, thereby often eliminating the need to take the WF-3640 out of service when a team member needs to print on different stock.

Yet another convenient paper handling feature is its 35-page, auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), which allows you to scan, copy, and fax two-sided originals without your having to flip them over manually. When used with the auto-duplexing print engine, the WF-3640 can make copying a stack of two-sided originals a snap.

The WF-3640 also comes with several handy PC-free operation features, such as the ability to print from and scan to several different types of memory cards, including USB thumb drives. These tasks, as well as setting up a few of this WorkForce model’s mobile printing features, are configured and initiated from a small (2.7 inches) color touchscreen.

Some of the WF-3640’s mobile printing features include Wi-Fi Direct, Apple’s AirPrint, and Google’s Cloud Print, as well as Epson’s own Epson Connect utilities for printing directly from mobile devices and printing via email.

Performance and Print Quality

Compared to many other inkjet printers and several entry-level and midrange color laser-class (LED and true laser) machines, the WF-3640 (as well as the other PrecisionCore WorkForce printers) is fast. (Epson rates it at 19 black pages per minute (ppm) and color pages at 10ppm.) In addition, it prints as well as, if not a little better than, previous WorkForce models. Everything we printed on it looked great, with print shop-quality text, as well as graphics and photos superior in quality to the best laser-class machines.

Cost Per Page

Compared to some other inkjets in its price range, as well as many entry-level laser-class printers, the WorkForce WF-3640’s best cost per page (when you use the more expensive, higher-yield tanks) of 3.2 cents for monochrome prints and 11.3 cents for color, is competitive, but hardly ideal if you print a lot. Choosing the wrong printer for an office with high-volume printing needs can be needlessly too expensive.

Final Thoughts

Succinctly, the WorkForce WF-3640 is a nice printer. It’s fast, it prints exceptionally well, and it’s loaded with productivity and convenience features. If, however, you print more than a couple hundred pages each month, you would better off, in terms of the on-going per-page operational cost, paying another $50 to $100 more for a high-volume model, such as, say, one of Epson’s WorkForce Pro models.