IT Pro Verdict
The Workforce Pro WP-4525 DNF achieves what it sets out to do: it's a competent MFP that, while it may not match an equivalent laser for durability, outright print speed or quality, comes acceptably close. At the same time it's smaller, quieter, cooler and less power-hungry than a laser, making it ideal for the smaller offices and workgroups it's aimed at. Its strongest card, however, is its running costs, which are far lower than any small workgroup laser we've seen.Alongside products such as HP's Officejet 8000 Enterprise, the WP-4525 DNF makes a compelling argument for inkjets at this end of the market, but we can't help but wonder whether the technology is really ready for the higher-volume applications Epson apparently has in its sights. The bulk, noise and complexity of a laser is far less of an issue in large workgroup and departmental applications, where the technology's high power use is offset by the low cost of bulk printing. It'll take a special inkjet to compete here, but the WP-4525 DNF does suggest that Epson knows what it's doing.
While inkjet technology dominates among the cheapest consumer printers, it's failed to make serious inroads into business applications where the conventional wisdom is that a laser print engine delivers faster, cheaper and on plain paper at least superior results. In June, however, Epson announced the new Workforce Pro range of inkjet multifunction peripherals (MFPs), aimed squarely at small workgroups and businesses.
the range is part of the company's long-term strategy for the business market.
At the time, Epson's business imaging head Andrew Semple told us that the range is part of the company's long-term strategy for the business market, adding that it would be followed by "more products in more and more segments". The WP-4525 DNF could therefore be a small step in a big leap that brings Epson's inkjets into competition with lasers for enterprise customers, so whether or not it is any good also has implications for Epson's entire strategy.
The WP-4525 DNF is somewhat larger than a typical consumer inkjet multifunction, but it's much more compact than even an entry-level workgroup laser device. Its styling and design sits somewhere between the two, managing to combine a robust feel and professional looks with the sort of simple control panel and display that you'd find on a consumer-class device. That's not a bad thing; it's immediately familiar, helping make the MFP easy to set up and use.
The WP-4525 DNF occupies the middle-point of the five-model range. While each has a unique number, the letters that follow it give the best guide to the features that are present. The WP-4525 DNF here has duplex printing, a network port and a 33.6Kbit/s fax modem. The more expensive WP-4535 DWF adds wireless networking, while the range-topping WP-4545 DTWF also gets a second, 250-sheet paper cassette that can be bought as an upgrade for other models for around 70. The WP-4525 DNF has one 250-sheet cassette as standard, along with a sturdy feeling 80-sheet multipurpose tray.
After a brief career in corporate IT, Simon Handby combined his love of technology and writing when he made the move to Computer Shopper magazine. As a technology reviewer he's since tested everything from routers and switches, to smart air fryers and doorbells, and covered technology such as EVs, TVs, solar power and the singularity.
During more than 15 years as Shopper's long-time printer reviewer, Simon tried, tested and wrote up literally hundreds of home, small office and workgroup printers. He continues reviewing smart products and printers for a variety of publications, and has been an IT Pro contributor since 2010. Simon is almost never happier than when surrounded by printers and paper, applying his stopwatch and a seasoned eye to find the best performing, best value products for business users.