Epson Workforce 600 All-In-One Inkjet Printer:
Original retail price from Epson is $199. Refurbs can be had for as low as $139-$99.
Networkable (wireless or Ethernet) all-in-one with built-in fax, and 4 cartridge configuration. Promising printer, and positioned by Epson as a color laser printer replacement. First things first, let’s take a look at the cartridges that can be used in this inkjet printer.
The printer comes with the following cartridges:
- T097120 – extra high-capacity Black (15ml) $28.49
- T069220 – standard capacity Cyan (7ml) $12.34
- T069320 – standard capacity Magenta (7ml) $12.34
- T069420 – standard capacity Yellow (7ml) $12.34
This printer can also use the T069120 standard capacity black $16.99 (7ml) instead of the included T097 black, not in addition to. You cannot install (2) two of the smaller in size black T069, or T068 ink cartridges.
Optional T068 series cartridges also compatible:
- T068120 – high capacity Black (11ml) $19.99
- T068220 – high capacity Cyan (11ml) $16.99
- T068320 – high capacity Magenta (11ml) $16.99
- T068420 – high capacity Yellow (11ml) $16.99
The effective cost-per-ml is about the same for any of these cartridges so choose wisely. Ink cartridges from Epson are way to expensive for this printer to be a realistic choice for a color laser printer replacement, however when used with compatible or re-manufactured cartridges, or even better, a continuous inking system (CIS) the cost per page equation goes much more in your favor. When printing black text documents, you can expect to get about 850 pages from the T097 series cartridge, T068 about 400 pages, and T069 about 250 pages. If you print lots of color documents, those cartridges yields will decrease considerably.
Set of T069 cartridges will set you back $54.01, a set of T068 cartridges runs $70.96. The T097 cartridge alone is $28.49, and a set of cartridges that come with the printer will run you $66.01. All cartridge prices are from Epson direct. Not exactly a cheap printer to operate if you are printing lots of documents.
So what’s in the box?
Screen grab from the Epson web site on box contents. Included in the box is $66.01 worth of inkjet cartridges, but much of the ink is used on the initial print head charging process. Why on earth Epson still does not include a USB cable with its printers is baffling. Maybe they make those too.
Workforce 600 Highlights:
- 4 individual ink cartridges
- Wireless and Ethernet connectivity (very cool)
- Epson cartridges contain durabrite pigment ink, see above for what can be used
- 5760 x 1440 dpi print resolution
- Black printing (Epson claims):
- Text up to 38ppm
- Laser quality text 27ppm
- Color printing (Epson claims):
- Text (up to) 38ppm
- Laser quality color text (up to) 19ppm
- Scanner hardware resolution 2400dpi, 48-bit color
- Can be used without a computer (PC-Free operation)
- 30-Sheet Auto Document Feeder
- Built-in Memory Card Slots
- Fax Built In – Up to 180 pages fax memory
- Paper sizes up to 44 inches in length
- 100 sheet paper capacity, or 10 envelopes
- OS Supported: Vista, XP, XP Pro 64-bit, Windows 2000, Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4.11, and 10.5.x
- Connectivity: USB (supports USB 2.0), Wireless Wi-Fi, Ethernet, optional Bluetooth
- “In-use” weight and dimensions : 18.1″ x 22.1″ x 12″
Software installation takes a while, and you do not have to install all the extras like the ArcSoft software, or ABBYY software if you do not want to, there is an option to de-select those packages. Setting up the wireless connection can be a bit confusing if you are not familiar with basic networking, however it can be done on the printer itself, or via a software step-by-step guide on your PC/MAC . We had some issues, however we got it up and running in less than 10 minutes. The workforce 600 now appears in the Epson iPrint app on our iPhone:
But Is It CIS Friendly?
The printer will operate with the lid open, and there are CI systems available for this printer.
But what about the speed?
Epson makes some pretty big claims about printer speed, so we decided to test with what we determined to be a “typical” business document. Since this printer is called the “workforce” and aimed at small business, we think printing a presentation is in order. So we googled “sample presentation” and found this, a 24-page PowerPoint presentation.
- Out-of-the-box settings – we changed nothing. We installed the drivers, and hit print.
We did this all wirelessly, and the time it took to send it over the airwaves was 42 seconds. Print time was four minutes and twenty two seconds (4:22). So total print time was about 5 minutes, or 4.8 pages per minute. If you take out the time it took to “send it” to the printer, we clocked in at about 5.5 pages per minute. Note: we had to run a head cleaning after the initial print as our document had severe banding issues. Most of the document was large color text with some images.
Black Text Document:
Next we did a 24 page text only document at this same setting. We downloaded the (a) health care bill H. R. 3200 and set it to print the first 24 pages. Why 24? Because that is how many pages were in the presentation file. The result? It took 30 seconds to send to the printer over the wireless connection, and our 24 pages were printed in one minute and thirty two seconds (1:32). So total print time was 2 minutes, or 12 pages per minute (pretty impressive). If you take out the time it took to send the print job to the printer, we are looking at 16 pages per minute. With three jets for black ink, this printer is made to go fast. This is the first time we have seen one cartridge providing 3 nozzles with ink. Interesting design. Print type was very ledgeable, and could be considered “laser quality” in our opinion.
How does it print so fast?
We found the answer when we had to do a head cleaning.
Next we decided to “go crazy” and change the print quality to economy, and the colors to “black only.” Did you know there was a “black only” setting? It still uses the colors, but just not as much as the standard settings. It was fast, but the text was not something I would want to give to a client, or turn in for a class. It was a bit blocky, like an old dot matrix printer, but perfectly fine for in office use, or for proofreading. From the time we hit print on the computer (over wireless), it took 1 minute and 37 seconds to print the 24 pages, or 15 pages per minute. It took 21 seconds for the printer to start printing, so if you take out the time it took to “send” the job, the printer completed the 24 pages in 1 minute and 16 seconds or 20 pages per minute.
We also tried this same economy setting [but set to color selected instead of black only] with the above mentioned PowerPoint file, however the resulting prints were very light and not good for anything but proofing. It took 1 minute 50 seconds from the time we hit print to complete the full 24 page file, or about 13 pages per minute. The document took 24 seconds to travel over the air, so if you take out the time it took to send the job to printer our 24 page PowerPoint file printed in 1 minute and 26 seconds, or 16 pages per minute.
Next we tried the “fast economy” setting, but the results were the exact same as the “economy” setting. Maybe there is a physical limitation to how fast the print head can move in the printer. Still not bad, and as mentioned the print quality, while not very professional looking, was fine for personal use.