Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R4640

Review of Epson's EcoTank All-in-One Printer

Epson's WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank MFP
20,000 pages or two years of ink with Epson's WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank MFP. Photo courtesy of Epson

It’s not often that inkjet printers sell for upwards of $1,000. In fact, it’s highly unusual to find them for more than $600 or $700, let alone the topic of this review’s MSRP of $1199.99, and, believe it or not, a street price of $1349.99 everywhere else but Epson.com. (It’s not often that I see printers selling for more than their MSRP, which usually suggests popularity.) The difference here, though, is that much of the purchase price goes toward the 20,000 pages’ worth of ink that comes in the box.

Today, we’re looking at the flagship of the EcoTank line, the WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One Printer, which is essentially the WF-4640, a two-input-cassette version of the very formidable WorkForce Pro WF-4630. The good news in all this is that this EcoTank model started out as a respectable high-volume multifunction printer—before EcoTank.

Design and Features

The WF-R4640 really is WF-4640 with housing for holding huge bags of ink on each side, as shown in the image above. The left side holds a large bag of black ink and the right side holds the cyan, magenta, and yellow ink bags, which, as has been commented a few times already on the Internet, look a lot like hospital IV bags. The WF-4640, which is already big for an inkjet printer, now that it’s the WF-R-4640, is now even bigger.

It measures 26.1 inches wide, by 25.8 inches from front to back, by 20.2 inches tall, and it weighs a stout 52.5 pounds—as a shared network printer that supports Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, or you can connect directly to a single PC via USB. In addition to these connectivity options, a slew of cloud sites and other mobile device support choices are available.

An auto-duplexing, 35-sheet automatic document feeder, or ADF, allows you to feed double-sided, multipage originals to the scanner for scanning or copying. That, most mobile features, configuration, and walk-up, or PC-free, functions are handled from a 4.3-inch touch screen anchoring an overall larger control panel.

Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

Come to think of it, the WF-4630/4640 was one of the first inkjet printers I’ve seen break 10 pages per minute (ppm) on my speed test. Of course, Epson rates it much higher than that, but those are black-and-white documents containing only text. Not only does it print lightning fast, but it also prints quite well, with near-typesetter quality text, good-looking photos, and average-looking graphics. In addition, it scanned and copied quickly—and well.

Out of the box, the WF-R4640 comes with two 250-sheet cassettes up front, and an 80-sheet multipurpose, or override tray, on the back. That’s 580 sheets from three sources, which isn’t exactly ultra-high capacity, but not bad.

Cost Per Page

Epson says you get two years’ worth, or 20,000 prints in the box, which isn’t, frankly, a lot for this high-volume (45,000 pages per month) printer. After those bags run out, you can purchase either 10,000- or 20,000-yield bags. Granted, these are kind of expensive, but not so compared to most laser printers, and certainly not on a cost-per-page basis.

For example, the 20,000-yield black bag sells for $179.99, or 0.009 cents per page, and color pages aren’t that much more. No matter which set you choose—10K or 20K—either will get you very low CPPs (both monochrome and color).

Conclusion

The bottom here is that if you print a lot, right now there aren’t any printer out there that can churn out pages this cheaply. Since this is mostly a PrecisionCore-based WorkForce Pro model, the quality and speed issues are already taken care of.