Review: Hands-On with Epson’s WorkForce WF-7520 Large-Format MFP
Imaging Technology: MicroPiezoelectric Ink-Jet Technology
ISO Print Speed: 15 (black)/ 8 (color) ppm
List Price: $299.99
Availability: Retail, Epson Web store
Introduction Date: January 2012
Max. Monthly Volume: Information not available
Recommended Monthly Page Volume: Information not available
Strengths: Image quality; build quality; quiet operation; 13″x19″ maximum print and copy size; scan up to 11″x17″ (simplex only); easy maintenance.
Limitations: Large footprint; maximum size for duplex printing and scanning is limited to A4/Letter; limited security; virtually no user or network management capabilities. For more details, refer to “Limitations” below.
Epson’s WorkForce WF-7520 is a full-color ink-jet All-in-One with color capability for all functions – print, copy, scan, and fax, and has wired and WiFi wireless network connectivity. What sets it apart is its large-format capability, as users can copy, scan, and fax originals up to A3/11”x17”, as well as produce large-format prints on up to 13”x19” media.
Tested Print Speed
- Tested print speeds of up to 14.67 ppm printing black text output in Normal mode, matching Epson’s rated ISO print speed, and up to 5.94 printing color output in Normal mode, which was slightly slower than Epson rated ISO print speed.
- Tested duplex print productivity of up to 7.75 ppm, matching Epson’s rated ISO duplex print speed.
- A strong competitive advantage is that there’s virtually no drying time required in duplex mode (less than a second) – meaning that the printer doesn’t have to pause in duplex mode to wait for one side of the page to dry, resulting in comparatively superior duplex productivity. Recently tested competitive ink-jet devices had ink-drying times ranging from 5 to 20+ seconds per page.
The WorkForce WF-7520 produced prints with sharp black text, very good resolution and fine-line reproduction, good dot (pixel) control, good to very good halftone scales, as well as text readability down to 4 pt. font size.
- Image quality in copy mode was very good, with good text quality down to even 4 pt. font size.
- Printed test photos displayed good detail, excellent color saturation, no banding, and realistic flesh tones, with photographs displaying an overall very-pleasing appearance.
- In our Water- and Highlighter Resistance Test, Epson’s DuraBrite Ultra inks displayed the best water-fastness and highlighter resistance we’ve seen to date from an ink-jet device.
The WorkForce WF-7520 has a competitive feature set: remote printing via Epson Connect Email (e-mail a print file to the system’s e-mail address), and support for AirPrint and Google Print mobile printing. There’s also printing from USB flash memory drives and PictBridge cameras, scan to USB memory drives and memory cards; photo restoration; film scanning; and a professional-quality scan feature set. There are enough special features to please both office and graphic-arts users. For the latter, there’s restoring of faded old photos for copy and scan, five levels of color-saturation adjustment when copying, easy access to color adjustment and matching in the print driver, and printing borderless output in print and copy modes.
View photos downloaded from USB flash memory drives and media cards on the color LCD. Photos can be cropped and image quality extensively adjusted before you print them.
Sample photo printed by the WorkForce WF-7520 on photo paper.
Build Quality, Design, Noise, Footprint
Everything feels sturdy, from the media cassettes to the scanner unit. The retractable 30-sheet duplexing document feeder has particularly good build quality. When you lift it up it stays open and the hinges feel sturdy. And, even though it’s large, there’s virtually no flex when you lift it, and when operating it, it sounds like a precision instrument.
The WorkForce WF-7520 has a substantial footprint (about six cubic feet) compared to other sub-$500 color laser and ink-jet All-in-Ones, but this is due to its A3 scan and large-format print capabilities, as well as two standard 250-sheet paper cassettes.
Very easy replacement of ink cartridges, media, and access to misfeed-removal areas.
During our evaluation, we did not observe any reliability, installation, or usage problems—no misfeeds or paper-feeding problems occurred, no paper-curling or ink smudging was observed, installing ink cartridges was clean and easy, printed output was neatly stacked, functions worked correctly, etc. However, we did observe that like other ink-jet printers we’ve tested, photo paper can’t be stacked on top of plain paper in a cassette, or the last sheet of photo paper will double feed with a sheet of plain paper on top, wasting ink and two sheets of paper.
Cost per Page/Total Cost of Ownership
Cost per page using highest-yield ink cartridges is average overall for sub-$500 color All-in-Ones, but higher compared to that for some competitive color ink-jet All-in-Ones.
Total Cost Per Page and Total Cost of Ownership
Black Cost Per Page
CYM Cost Per Page
Device Purchase Price
Monthly Page Volume
Total Cost of Ownership
- Deployment – Particularly long software and network installation time, and no installation packaging or deployment scripts are provided.
- Management – Epson does not provide a device-management solution. There’s below-average SNMP compatibility, as the WorkForce WF-7250 incorrectly showed up in HP Web Jetadmin as the “Officejet Pro N911g,” with the hostname of “EPSON4F0B35.” There’s no access in the installed software, and little or no mention of the embedded Web server, which has very limited functionality compared to competitive units’ embedded Web servers. This means that there’s little or no way to remotely manage the unit, and the installed software does not include a unified feature management and configuration utility (although this can be done from within the Windows 7 Devices and Printers applet). There’s no remotely retrievable user, print or scan usage logs, nor are they centrally available from the control panel. There are also no automatic e-mail notifications alerting users if the device needs attention or ink is low (although the Status Monitor 3 utility provides error and low ink pop-up alerts at the PC workstation). Finally, the fax phone books and print profiles can’t be exported or imported.
- Security – There’s no user authentication or login. This means that administrators can’t limit features for each user (such as disabling printing photos from USB memory drives and memory cards), and usage per user and/or department can’t be tracked or charged-back. There’s no network authentication, mainly due to the lack of any features that require authentication, such as the workflow features below.
- Workflow – No push scan to e-mail server, FTP, network folder or OCR application from the control panel.
- Duplex Capability – There’s no automatic duplex scanning of originals larger than letter-/A4-size (the ADF can however scan simplex originals up to A3/ 11”x17”), and there’s no duplex printing on media larger than letter/A4.
The WorkForce WF-7520 is an excellent choice for small/creative offices and micro workgroups who need A3/11”x17” scan/copy and 13”x19” printing, for instance, for those in small offices whose only alternative would be MFPs costing hundreds (and thousands) of dollars more that must be purchased through dealers—but who don’t require office-level deployment, management, security, and workflow. Key strengths include 11.7”x17” flatbed platen, 30-sheet duplexing document feeder, print on up to 13”x19” (and print full-bleed 11”x17” images), competitive feature set, and comparatively outstanding build quality. In most offices, where a majority of applications consist of print and scan of letter-/A4-size documents, the WorkForce WF-7520 with its very affordable pricing, is a good addition for required A3/13”x19” scan/print. However, it’s also perfectly capable as a do-it-all device for low monthly print volumes.
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