While Epson categorizes the WorkForce Pro WP-4530 ($300) color multifunction printer (MFP) in the business category, it has features that make it a very good choice for many home users, such as great ink yields, an automatic document feeder (ADF), and duplex printing – as long as you can make room for a device that’s larger than most printers designed for home use.
Features and design
The WP-4530 is a four-function (print, scan, copy, and fax) color inkjet-based MFP. While faxing has passed its heyday, it’s remarkable how often it’s still being used. Many companies and institutions simply refuse any document that’s in an electronic format.
At 13.4 inches, the WP-4530 is a bit taller than many of the inkjet MFPs we’ve tested. That’s due to two aspects of the MFP’s design. The first of these is that the WP-4530 uses very large ink cartridges, which are loaded by dropping down the front panel. The XL cartridges cost $25 for color and $39 for black, and provide estimated yields of about 1,200 color pages and 2,400 monochrome pages.
The per-page-cost is considerably less than just about any laser printer and most inkjet printers as well.
That results in a per-page-cost of just over two cents a page in color, and just about a penny-and-a-half for monochrome. That’s considerably less than just about any laser printer, and less expensive than most inkjet printers as well.
The input tray is large, holding 250 sheets – a half-ream – while the rear feed can accommodate another 80 sheets. The rear feed is also used whenever you are using anything other than standard/bright-white paper in the MFP – changing the paper type in the driver automatically defaults to the rear input tray. Epson does not provide a capacity for the output tray, at least none that we could find, but there’s no way it can come near the combined 330-sheet input capacity, so you’ll have to keep your eye peeled during long print runs.
Automatic duplexing is provided in both paper feeds as well as the scanner. The ADF has a capacity of 30 pages, so you can fax, scan, or copy long documents and forget about it.
On the front panel are a variety of controls and a 2.5-inch LCD. One downside is that there is no memory card reader.
As with many MFPs tailored to a small office or workgroup, the WP-4530 has excellent connectivity. In addition to USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi, the WP-4530 also offers remote printing via Epson Connect, AirPrint, and Google Cloud Print. This is one reason why an office MFP works great for a “connected” home.
What’s in the box
While the box itself is quite large, the printer is a more modest size, measuring 18.1 x 16.5 x 13.4 inches, which increases the depth from 16.5 to 25.7 inches with the output tray open and extended. The WP-4530 is a hefty unit, weighing in at 30.4 pounds, but unlike some MFPs we’ve tested recently, it doesn’t require two people to get it out of the box.
Also in the box are four starter cartridges (1,000 pages black, 900 pages color), an AC power cord, and, should you need it, an RJ-11 telephone cord that the fax requires. Also provided are a small sample pack of paper, a setup poster, and a Quick Guide that will get you started. The installation disc has print drivers for Windows and Mac OS X, as wells as a scan driver and ABBYY FineReader OCR software.
Setup and performance
We had no problems setting up the WP-4530. The unit is light enough that we didn’t need a two people or a forklift to get it out of the box and onto the desk. The most time-consuming parts of the setup taking off innumerable pieces of blue tape, and priming the print head, which takes about 12 minutes or so, during which time you need to be careful about powering the unit off or opening the front panel. A firmware update added about another 10 minutes to the total setup time.
The capability for photo quality output is there if you need it, even though Epson doesn’t call this a photo printer.
We were very pleasantly surprised by the printer’s performance. Epson claims that the WP-4530 is the “world’s fastest automatic two-sided printer.” It’s a bold claim, but we will say the printer is fast. Epson rates the speed at 16 pages-per-minute in monochrome and 11 ppm in color. We printed our test document, a four-page Word document of primarily black text with a small color logo at an average of just about 16 ppm – affirming Epson’s claim.
One thing that amazed us was the WP-4530’s copy speed. Usually, making one or more copies on an inkjet MFP is an exercise in patience. Not so with the WP-4530. The WP-4530 printed five color copies in less than 10 seconds, even faster in monochrome. Now, we wouldn’t recommend making 100 copies of a long report, especially one containing a lot of color, but for casual copying, the WP-4530 is just fine. This is reflected in the scan and fax capabilities as well.
Image quality was another pleasant surprise. Output on a variety of papers, including our everyday HP Office paper and the Epson Bright White paper were decently saturated and accurate. The WP-4530 will do a good job on documents containing color graphics, color flyers, brochures, and the like. We also tested image quality using two of Epson’s premium papers – Premium Presentation Paper Matte and Premium Photo Paper Glossy. The output on Premium Presentation Paper Matte was almost photo quality. And although Epson doesn’t claim photo quality for the WP-4530, our test output on the Glossy Premium Photo Paper was excellent, with vibrant saturation, excellent detail, and very accurate color. If you need really high quality output, you’ll have to spring for expensive paper. But the capability for photo quality output is there if you need it, even though Epson doesn’t call this a photo printer.
The WorkForce Pro 4530 is described as a business MFP, but it has all of the attributes that a home user would want. It’s affordable to buy, uses inexpensive ink cartridges with high yields, and does a great job on everyday printing, scanning, and even photo printing. It’s a bit larger, heavier, and pricier than many of the inkjet-based home MFPs we’ve looked at, but given its value and features, it’s worth the price premium.
- Very good output quality
- Fast copy/scan speed
- High-yield inks aren’t overly expensive
- No card reader or color LCD
- Larger and heavier than many consumer/home MFPs