REVIEW Epson WorkForce WF-100W
Laser printers have dominated the professional sector for years, but now inkjets are making a comeback, spearheaded by HP and Epson. The latter has found a niche in the market, opting to produce not another multifunction model but a portable one. Aimed at sales reps, freelancers and other workers on the go, the WorkForce WF-100W is the smallest and lightest battery-powered A4 printer currently available.
Resolution NA Mono/colour speeds 7 ppm / 4 ppm Ink droplet size 3 pl Cartridges required 2 Number of base colours 4 Scanner no
DESIGN & BUILD 4/5
When closed, the Epson WF-100W is brick-shaped and seems fairly sturdy. It’s made from good quality plastic with a stylish, textured finish that is pleasant to touch. The plastic construction means the device remains an acceptable weight (1.6 kg / 2.6 lbs), about the same as an ultrabook. All the same, if you’re planning on carrying this printer around, you’ll need a dedicated bag—it measures 31 x 15 x 6 cm / 12” x 6” x 2.4”.
With the lid open, you’ve now got a support for the paper. It’s well put together and stays firmly in place. The maximum load is a mere 20 A4 sheets, but this printer is destined more for invoice and quote printing than for reams of documents. There’s a panel on the top that opens to give access to the cartridges, and a second on the bottom that contains the maintenance box.
The printer is controlled via buttons and a little 3.6 cm / 1.4” colour screen. Although not perfect, the system is actually pretty intuitive and well thought out. To connect to a computer, you can choose between Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and a micro-USB port. As for the driver, it’s actually stored on the internal memory of the printer itself, which is a great idea. We’d like to see this approach adopted for other types of printer as well; it means you can connect the machine without a second thought—no need for an installation disc or for a driver downloaded from the manufacturer’s support page.
TEXT PRINTING 4/5
The WorkForce WF-100W uses pigment inks, which means fast drying times. It also means you’ll be able to highlight your documents straight away, without having to worry about ink running. Images come out alright, both in colour and monochrome. And while ink droplets are pretty visible, shading between tones is pretty well reproduced.
As you might expect, this printer doesn’t offer incredible print speeds. We measured 7.5 pages per minute (ppm) in monochrome and 5 ppm in colour—when the WF-100W is connected to the mains. These figures fall to 4.5 ppm and 3 ppm respectively when the device runs on battery. If you compare these results to your average inkjet all-in-one (15 ppm on average), they admittedly seem pretty poor; however, you won’t be buying this Epson for its print speeds. The target user will only be printing a few pages at a time, and this will only take about 30 seconds.
PHOTO PRINTING 2/5
It might not be meant for it, but the Epson WF-100W is capable of photo printing: it can deal with paper of up to 300 g/m². The picture quality is just about passable but nothing more. The image is run through with lines, colours are not very accurate and blacks come out a bit purple.
And yet, the photo print speeds aren’t actually that ridiculous. It takes 40 s to produce a 10 x 15 cm print and 2 mins 40 s for an A4. These times are pretty similar to standard entry-level inkjet printers. But, since none of us would buy the WF-100W for photo printing, this section’s score won’t affect the overall result.
POWER USE & NOISE 5/5
This printer’s real selling point is its transportability, a feature that owes everything to the built-in battery. The latter seems to have a sufficient capacity to get you through a good day of printing: with Wi-Fi on, we managed to get 50 colour pages and a few photos out of it before it ran out of juice. It can be recharged via the mains or via a USB cable connected to your computer. A full charge requires 2 hrs from the mains and 3 hrs from USB.
Power use is pretty restrained. We measured just 10 W when up and running. At the same time, though, the standby mode isn’t the most economical at 1.5 W.
Producing an average of 45 dB(A), the WF-100W isn’t the noisiest of printers, either.
COST PER PAGE 4/5
As is clear from its compact size, there isn’t enough space inside the WorkForce WF-100W for four separate ink cartridges. Instead, there are two monoblock cartridges, only available in standard sizes (no XL). Not only offering fairly limited yields (250 pages for the black, 200 for the colour), these cartridges are also pretty expensive; for these reasons, the average cost per page works out at 14.7 pence.