IT Pro Verdict
Excellent colour output
High-quality prints are slower-speed
The old wisdom would have you believe that only laser printers are suitable for business use. That hasn’t been true for many years, though – and Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-C5710DWF makes a compelling argument for inkjets in the workplace. Along with a low acquisition cost, this small-footprint MFP offers a speedy 24ppm print rate, every imaginable connection option and laser-busting running costs.
That’s down to Epson’s replaceable ink pack system, which delivers mono pages for just 1.1p and colour for 4.8p. Notably, that works out the same whether you opt for the 3,000-page or 5,000-page capacity refills, so you can choose whichever you find more convenient.
While the WF-C5710DWF is a great-value MFP, it doesn’t skimp on features. It serves up print, copy, scan and fax functions, and supports direct USB connections plus both wired and wireless networking, NFC, AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct. Despite the compact design, it can handle big workloads: although the standard paper tray has an unremarkable 250-sheet capacity, that can be tripled with the addition of a 500-page feeder tray that fits underneath the base.
The setup process went smoothly for us. Epson’s software installer for Windows automatically located the MFP on our network, updated the firmware and loaded the appropriate drivers ready for action. The rest of the software bundle includes a network status monitor, fax software, browser plugin and Epson’s Scan 2 and Document Capture Pro scan-management tools. These offer plenty of remote scan controls, and can be used to create and save scan job definitions for fast one-click access. The iPrint iOS and Android apps, meanwhile, provide plenty of remote print and scan tools for mobile users.
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With all this installed, the routine passed us over to Epson’s Connect cloud portal, where we registered the MFP and set up a custom email address to which users could send attachments for printing. Off-site users can alternatively install a remote print driver, which lets them print directly over the internet.
The cloud portal is also where you set up Epson’s scan-to-cloud service. There’s very little to this process: once we’d entered our Dropbox credentials, the service immediately appeared in the printer’s big touchscreen panel as a scan destination.
Print performance is as fast as Epson claims – but only at standard quality. In this mode, our 24-page Word document printed in precisely 60 seconds, but switching to high quality sent speeds tumbling to 6.4ppm. It was the same story with our 24-page colour DTP document, which averaged 24ppm in standard mode but just 5.3ppm at high quality.
Another potential grumble is that the print head carriage and paper handling mechanisms are somewhat on the noisy side: we measured a peak of 69dB from one metre away when printing in standard mode. That applies to copying too, which means the WF-C5710DWF isn’t ideal for a small, quiet office.
Still, we’ve no complaints about copy speed – the scanner’s duplex ADF made light work of a ten-page single-sided copy, digitising it at an average rate of 15ppm. And print quality is perfectly good for office use, with the standard print mode producing clear, dust-free text at 12pt and plenty of detail in mono photos. Moving up from cheap 75gsm paper to thicker 100gsm stock resulted in cleaner prints, but will naturally increase running costs.
Colour output is a particular strength. The WF-C5710DWF turned out bright, bold reports with no hint of banding, and it’s a great choice for photo printing: we found that snaps reproduced on 160gsm semi-gloss paper came out looking beautifully sharp and detailed with no edge bleeding.
Small businesses seeking a cloud-friendly MFP on a budget will find a lot to like about Epson’s WF-C5710DWF. It’s user-friendly and packed with features, and its running costs are far lower than you’ll get from a similarly priced laser.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5710DWF specifications
|4,800 x 1,200dpi A4 inkjet MFP
|10.9cm colour touchscreen
|10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n wireless
|2 x USB 2, NFC, 33.6Kbits/sec fax/modem, 2 x RJ-11
|250-page input tray, 80-page MPT, 50-page duplex ADF
|Recommended monthly duty cycle
|425 x 535 x 357mm
|3yr on-site warrant
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.