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Epson fire serious shot at small office market.

Inkjet printers have come a heck of a long way since my first, way back in 1989. Back then it felt like it took three days to print a page, and boy, that felt fast! I had the Ferrari of printers, and strutted around like some kind of geek rooster.

Fast forward a generation, and if the WF-4630 had wheels, I'd drive it.

It's a multi-function print centre, with dual paper trays (one capable of printing about 1.5 metre-long sheets), an automatic document feeder for scanning, plus a flatbed scanner. The unit comes with fax and email capabilities as well, connecting to the network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and available to you from anywhere in the world via the cloud.

How neat is this? Well, if you are running branch offices, you can literally print or scan a document from your computer in Auckland and have it print out instantly on the printer in the Wellington office. Need a contract quick? Scan it in Wellington, have it print out in Tauranga, in colour, sharp as a tack.

Epson's android app easily hooks up your android smartphone to this unit, and the same of course applies to Apple devices. Photograph a contract or key document on the fly while you are out of the office, and have it already printed out and being processed before you get back.

The unit is controlled via a reasonably intuitive touch screen panel giving you quick one-button access to all the major functions.

For a month now I've been waiting for the 'introductory' print cartridges to give up the ghost, as the free starter inks so often do, but to no avail. Epson's standard ink cartridges for this model will print an average of 1100 pages, and the high-capacity inkpots will extend to a laser equaling 2600 pages in black.

The good news is the Epson is cheaper than a laser to run, both in power consumption and in ink, with a better quality print definition and delivering around 15 pages per minute in black and white. The sharpness in the text has to be seen to be believed, and it's due to Epson's PrecisionCore head technology.

For a long time, manufacturers have lured home users to purchase printers at ridiculously low prices and then charged them big time on regular ink-refills. The WF-4630 is the perfect example of saving money in the medium term by paying more for the printer and getting much better ink economy. With retail prices in the NZ market between $250 and $449, this unit makes an ideal addition to the home office or small business.

I have a 20 year old fax machine looking nervously over its shoulder at the newcomer. And with good reason. The six year old scanner we've been using has already met its maker thanks to the WF-4630.

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Author:Wishart, Ian
Publication:Investigate HIS
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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