EP­SON Work­Force Pro WF-3720DWF

★★★★★ £93 • From www.ama­zon.co.uk

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES - Si­mon Handby

VER­DICT

Ep­son’s lat­est all-in-one is a great all-rounder for the home of­fice, but ink costs make it ex­pen­sive to run

EP­SON’S WORK­FORCE PRO WF-3720DWF is a mid-range inkjet MFP for the home of­fice. It’s the lat­est up­date to a range that we’ve show­ered with praise – we awarded its pre­de­ces­sor, the WF-3620DWF (Shop­per 355) a Best Buy – and it looks like Ep­son’s reeled out yet an­other su­perb inkjet workhorse.

The WF-3720DWF ap­pears to be slightly more than the usual light refresh of the out­go­ing WF-3620DWF: it has a less clut­tered, more up­right new de­sign, and the crisp new colour touch­screen of­fers di­rect con­trol over the var­i­ous func­tions. It can print, scan, fax and copy, has a 35-page au­to­matic doc­u­ment feeder (ADF) and con­nects to a wired or wire­less net­work – pretty much ev­ery­thing a home of­fice or small busi­ness startup could ask for.

DOU­BLE TROU­BLE

It’s not all good news, how­ever. While the WF-3620DWF could make du­plex scans, copies, faxes and prints, the WF-3720DWF doesn’t have a du­plex ADF – you can au­to­mat­i­cally print on both sides of the pa­per, but not scan, copy or fax. Ep­son has also re­moved the SD card slot, which is a shame, al­though there is still a USB port for di­rect prints and scans. The over­all im­pres­sion is of an MFP that’s been ti­died up, but slightly down­graded at the same time.

Whinge­ing aside, there’s still plenty to like about the WF-3720DWF. The touch­screen is ex­cel­lent, re­spond­ing pre­dictably to taps and drag ges­tures as you nav­i­gate the in­tu­itive menus. Build qual­ity feels higher than some com­peti­tors, with solid draw­ers and lids and noth­ing beg­ging to be snapped off. Ep­son’s PC and smart­phone soft­ware re­main re­fresh­ingly easy to use, al­though we’re not keen on the PC’s new sim­pli­fied scan in­ter­face – we pre­ferred the old one.

On plain pa­per this is quite a quick printer, man­ag­ing 19.2 A4 pages per minute (ppm) on our mono text test, and a de­cent 5.6ppm on our more com­plex colour graph­ics test. At three sides per minute, du­plex prints were com­pet­i­tive, but photo prints were slow; each 6x4in print took more than three min­utes.

SLOW MO­TION

We were ex­pect­ing a quicker scan­ner, too. Previews and lowres­o­lu­tion scans were fine, but it took 28 sec­onds to scan a photo at 600dpi, and two and a half min­utes at 1,200dpi; the lat­ter is about five times what the WF-3620DWF man­aged in the same test.

Hap­pily, there’s been no drop in qual­ity. Scan re­sults weren’t the sharpest, but they dis­played the ex­cel­lent colour ac­cu­racy and dy­namic range we typ­i­cally see from Ep­son. If any­thing, print qual­ity is sub­tly im­proved across the board: while text is no­tice­ably lighter, it’s also no­tice­ably crisper and more de­fined. There’s lit­tle to com­plain about else­where, too: colour graph­ics are ex­cel­lent,

The touch­screen is ex­cel­lent, re­spond­ing pre­dictably to taps and drag ges­tures as you nav­i­gate the in­tu­itive menus, and build qual­ity feels higher than some com­peti­tors

pho­to­copies are very good, and pho­tos aren’t bad at all for an of­fice-fo­cused de­vice.

The WF-3720DWF is a great all-in-one for home of­fice du­ties, even if it is a shame about the loss of du­plex scan­ning and copy­ing func­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, how­ever, there’s a more press­ing prob­lem: at the time of our re­view, the cheap­est prices we could find for the XL ink car­tridges worked out at 9.3p per colour page, sig­nif­i­cantly higher than lead­ing com­peti­tors and about 50% more than the WF-3620DWF. While it’s typ­i­cal for prices for a new range of sup­plies to fall over time, we can’t fully rec­om­mend the WF-3720DWF un­til they do – for now, we’d stick with the older WF-3620DWF in­stead.

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