Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW review: Quality that’s beyond reproach

High-quality printing is slow, but this colour inkjet offers excellent running costs and great-looking output

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW

IT Pro Verdict


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    Good-value starter cartridges

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    Great networking and cloud support

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    Outstanding print quality


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    Slow high-quality and colour printing

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    No touchscreen

Cost-conscious SMBs may be wary of inkjets that are constantly running out of ink and demanding expensive refills – but Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW hits all the right notes, promising some of the largest ink yields in the business along with low running costs. Invest in Epson’s capacious XL 5,000-page cartridges and you’re looking at just 1.3p per mono page, and 5.7p for colour.

Even the supplied cartridges are good value. Rather than fobbing you off with half-empty starter supplies, Epson throws in a set of standard T902 3,000-page cartridges, which should last you a fair while before you need to start shopping for replacements.

There’s a good set of paper options too: the built-in 250-sheet paper cassette can be supplemented with a lower 500-sheet cassette for a very reasonable £130, while the 80-page tray at the rear handles stock of up to 256gsm. Ethernet, 802.11n wireless and USB 2 connections are all supported, along with AirPrint and Wi-Fi Direct, plus an NFC sensor for tap-to-print services.

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Installation is a piece of cake. Epson’s simple setup utility spotted the printer on our network right away, and automatically went off and downloaded the latest drivers for it, along with the latest firmware.

Next, a desktop status monitor is installed, which allows you to keep an eye on ink and maintenance status. You can also check these from the printer’s web console, and register the printer with Epson’s Connect remote print service. This sets up a dedicated, customisable email address just for your printer, enabling remote users to print documents by sending them as attachments. Even neater, Epson’s printer driver links up with your Connect account to send jobs directly from desktop apps to the remote printer, and access can be secured with a custom passkey.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW side angle

Print performance is fine for a medium-sized office. We found that Epson’s claimed maximum speed of 34ppm wasn’t attainable in the real world, but the printer’s 24ppm ISO rating proved more or less achievable. We had to wait seven seconds for our 24-page Word document to start printing, but it was then delivered in one minute flat at standard quality. The high-quality print mode is far slower, turning out the same document at barely over 6ppm, but you won’t normally need to use this, as standard mode is perfectly sharp enough for general office use, with only a hint of dusting around smaller fonts.

You should note that printing in colour slows things down as well: our 24-page DTP-style document came out at 20.6ppm in standard mode and 5.8ppm in high quality. It’s worth the wait, though, as colour quality is excellent. Our graphics and photos looked sharp and detailed without a hint of banding – even in large single-colour areas.

Access controls aren’t the most extensive we’ve seen, but you can password-protect the printer’s control panel, enable or disable the NFC sensor and create up to ten user accounts with custom restrictions. Confidential documents can be protected with a four-digit PIN for walk-up-and-print operations too, although entering the code is a little fiddly as the LCD panel isn’t a touchscreen.

Mobile users, meanwhile, get to play with Epson’s iPrint app. No setup is required – as long as you’re on the same network as the printer, it will be detected – and as well as printing directly from your device, you can use the app to connect to Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive accounts, and search and print cloud documents.

In all, the WF-C5210DW is a top choice for small businesses. High-resolution printing is slow, but running costs are far lower than you’ll get from typical lasers in this price range, and output quality is beyond reproach. Dave Mitchell

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5210DW specifications

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Format4,800 x 1,200dpi A4 inkjet printer
Print speed24ppm mono/colour
Display6.1cm colour LCD screen
NetworkingGigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless
ConnectivityUSB 2, NFC
Print typeDuplex
Tray size250-sheet drawer, 80-sheet MPT
Recommended monthly duty cycle2,500 pages
Dimensions425 x 535 x 357mm
Warranty1yr on-site warranty
Options (exc VAT)500-sheet tray, £130 exc VAT
Dave Mitchell

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.