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Epson WorkForce 60

  • Category: Printers
  • Review Date: 06/15/11
  • Bottom line:

    Focused squarely on business needs, the Epson WorkForce 60 inkjet printer offers both extraordinary speed and high quality for business applications.

  • Pros:

    Fast for business applications. Extraordinarily fast for the price. High-quality output. Duplexer. Wi-Fi.

  • Cons:

    Photo print speed is a little slow.

Editor Rating:

4.00

By M. David Stone

The Epson WorkForce 60 ($129.99 direct) raises the bar on what to expect from an inexpensive inkjet printer. Faster than some color lasers, with paper handling that includes an ample 250-sheet capacity and built-in duplexer, it could have been designed just to challenge assumptions. Add in the Ethernet and Wi-Fi support, and you have to agree that it delivers an awful lot of printer for the price.

Single-function printers in this price range, like the Canon Pixma iP4820 Photo Printer ($99.99 direct, 4 stars) tend to be at least as good a fit for the home as for the office. Even the office-oriented Editors' Choice HP Officejet 6000 Wireless Printer ($119.99 direct, 4 stars), does a relatively better job with photo output than with text, for example. The WorkForce 60 breaks that mold.

This isn't to say that you can't use the WorkForce 60 as a home printer or in the dual role of home and home office printer, but the focus is primarily on business printing needs, from paper handling and speed to surprisingly high-quality text from an inkjet and only average photo quality. It's clearly meant for a micro or home office or as a personal printer in any size office.

Setup and Speed
For my tests, I connected the printer to a wired network and installed it to print from a Windows Vista system. Setup was standard fare. The results were not. I clocked the printer on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing) at 4.1 effective pages per minute (ppm). In comparison, the Canon iP4820 scored only 3 ppm and the Officejet 6000 came in at 3.1 ppm.

In fact, not only is the WorkForce 60 the fastest inkjet printer we've tested for anything like the price, it's faster than some color laser printers, including, for example, the HP LaserJet Pro CP1525nw color Printer ($349 direct, 2.5 stars), which I clocked at 2.9 ppm. It doesn't do as well on photo speed, however, averaging 2 minutes 12 seconds for a 4 by 6. The Canon iP4820 takes less than half that time, at 55 seconds, and scores better on photo output quality. Consider that just another indication of the focus on business rather than home use.

Output Quality
The WorkForce 60's output quality also favors business use, thanks particularly to its better than par text quality for an inkjet. The text in my tests was easily good enough for most business purposes, with the additional benefit of being much more water resistant than most inkjet output on plain paper.

Graphics output was a match for most single-function inkjet printers, and easily good enough for any internal business need, up to and including things like PowerPoint handouts. Most people would also consider it good enough for output going to an important client or customer, although true perfectionists might disagree.

Photo output in my tests was a bit uneven. All of our test output qualified as true photo quality, but some photos were at about the level I would expect from drugstore prints, while others were a bit better than that. The combination puts the overall photo quality at the low end of the range where virtually all single-function inkjets fall.

Also very much worth mention is the surprisingly low running cost, considering the low price for the printer. Epson demurs from making cost per page claims, but if you look at the prices and claimed yields for the cartridges, the cost per page works out to just 3 cents per mono page and 10.2 cents per color page.

The Epson WorkForce 60 is an impressive printer with lots to recommend it. If you're looking for an inexpensive business printer for a micro or home office, make sure it's on your short list. For the moment, at least, it's the inkjet printer that others will have to beat, and our new Editors' Choice.

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