In Departure, Epson Introduces WorkForce Business Inkjets that Print in Black-and-White Only


Epson WorkForce Pro WF-M5694 MFP.

While “color” is typically synonymous with inkjet in today’s home and office printing, Epson America is taking a departure with the introduction of two new business inkjet models, the WorkForce Pro WF-M5694 MFP ($399.99 MSRP) and WorkForce Pro WF-M5194 single-function printer ($209.99 MSRP), which print in black-and-white only.

Designed for use in small networked workgroups, both the WF-M5694 and WF-M5194 can be equipped with a replacement Epson 792XL DURABrite Ultra Ink black ink cartridge ($164.99 MSRP) said to yield up to 10,000 pages for a cost per page of 1.6 cents. (Also supporting workgroup use is a paper capacity that can be expanded to a maximum of 580 sheets, and a maximum monthly volume of up to 45,000 pages (recommended is up to 2,500 pages). Epson says both models also feature IT administration tools, including security features and network configuration.

The firm also says the new models provide the “lowest-cost monochrome printing in their class” compared to similarly featured monochrome printers priced under $500 and under 40 ppm.

The WorkForce Pro M5000-Series, which use Epson’s PrecisionCore 4S print head, are rated at up to 20 ppm. Features include:

  • Epson ESC/P-R, PCL 5/6, and PostScript 3 emulation print drivers.
  • PIN-based confidential print-job release; administrators may control user access and use.
  • The WF-M5694 MFP provides automatic two-sided print, copy, (color) scan, and (color) Super Group 3 fax; and 35-sheet automatic document feeder; scan features include: color scanning, and scan to PC via Document Capture Pro software, and scan to cloud-based sites, email,  and memory drives; users may create password-protected PDFs from scanned documents.
  • USB 2.0 port; wireless LAN 802.11 b/g/n; Wired Ethernet (1000 Base-T/100 Base-TX/10 Base-T); and Wi-Fi Direct.
  • Epson Connect for mobile printing from iPads, iPhones, tablets, smartphones, and more; Epson Email Print, Epson iPrint Mobile App; Epson Remote Print; support for mobile printing for Kindle Fire, Chromebook, and Google Cloud Print.
  • ISO rated print speed is up to 20 ppm in simplex mode, 11 ppm in duplex mode.
  • 1,200 x 2,400 dpi resolution.
  • Maximum print and copy size is 8.5″x14″.

The WorkForce Pro WF-M5194 printer will be available in late March, while the WorkForce Pro WF-M5694 MFP will be available in late April, both via and through IT and specialty dealers, value-added resellers, contract office suppliers, and other authorized Epson commercial resellers.

For more information and complete specifications for the WF-M5194 printer, visit Epson here, and here for the WF-M5694 MFP.

Our Take

Both new models appear to be monochrome-only versions of the Epson WorkForce WF-5694 MFP, which Wirth Consulting tested last year (see report here) – and appear to have the designation of “M” in their model names to indicate that they’re monochrome only. It’s interesting that Epson chose to enable black-and-white printing only. As we’ve noted, color printing is typically synonymous with inkjet in most user’s minds, and has often been a big selling point for inkjet versus laser in the home and office, as users have typically paid far less for color inkjet than for color laser printing. On the other hand, Epson remains very committed to bringing inkjet to business and office users, and may believe that the lack of color printing may appeal to business customers who associate color printing with more expensive and less-“business-like” printing, and who wish to discourage color printing among employees for non-business uses, such as printing of family photos.

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