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Epson WorkForce WF-3620DWF review: A brilliant sub-£100 MFP

The WorkForce WF-3620DWF is one of the more affordable examples of Epson's range of home-office-orientated inkjet multifunction peripherals (MFPs). For less than £100, it's not an expensive device.

Features and design

You'll be immensely relieved to hear that the WorkForce WF-3620DWF has got a fax modem, because you just never know when the 1980s might get in touch. It's also equipped with plenty of useful features, though, such as wired and wireless networking, and duplex (double-sided) print, scan, copy and faxing. There's also a 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), and USB, SD and Memory Stick slots, so you can scan to or print from an inserted device -- sadly, direct PDF printing isn't supported, though.

While Epson's claimed 20,000-page-per-month duty cycle sounds a tad optimistic, there's nothing obviously flimsy about its design. The 250-sheet input and 125-sheet output trays are sturdy, and the scanner lid sits on beefy hinges that extend to cope with thicker books or stacks of documents. The design isn't perfect, however: opening the WF-3620DWF's scanner lid flips open the dust cover on the single-sheet special media slot at the rear.

The WF-3620DWF uses the combination of a touchscreen and physical buttons, but it's not entirely idiot-proof. The screen can take time to register touches, and the layout of the top level of the menu baffled us for a minute. There is one very welcome addition, however: unlike its predecessor, the WF-3620DWF supports multitasking, so you can scan a document while it's busy printing or vice versa.

Performance: Printing, scanning and copying

We wouldn't expect blistering speed at this price, but the WF-3620DWF is fairly quick. Tested over a wired network connection, it reached 17.4 pages per minute (ppm) when printing black text, and almost 5.4ppm on our far more complex colour graphics test. Photographs aren't this printer's forte, though: it delivered one 6x4" print every two-and-a-half minutes, and quality isn't quite up there with the very best.

Photocopies are quick: a single mono copy took 13 seconds, while using the ADF to copy ten pages took less than a minute and a half. In colour, the equivalent tests took 17 seconds and two-and-a-half minutes. Scans were fast, too, with a 300 dots-per-inch (dpi) capture of an A4 sheet needing just nine seconds, and a 1,200dpi scan of a 6x4" photo taking 33 seconds.

The quality of those scans is impressive, even by Epson's high standards; the results are unusually sharp and display an excellent dynamic range. Prints and photocopies are also very good, if not quite perfect: colours were somewhat lacking in saturation, and draft quality text was very faint.

Running costs

The WF-3620DWF takes XL-rated colour inks, which last for 1,100 pages each, and an "XXL" black which is rated for 2,200 pages. Using these, running costs work out at a competitive 6.1p per A4 page of mixed text and graphics. Epson has stopped estimating the page life of the additional maintenance box that catches waste ink in WorkForce printers, but based on earlier models it's likely to be tens of thousands of pages, and costs less than £20 to replace.

Overall

The WF-3620DWF performs well, has some great features, and is reasonably cheap to buy and run. It's not ideal for creative users and there are some very minor criticisms, but it's a near-perfect MFP for home or small-office use.

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