Tech Review: Epson WorkForce 635 All-In-One Printer

Small business offices are often as cramped for space as they are tight on cash, which makes multifunction printers particularly attractive. In this first edition of Tech Review, I’ll be looking at the Epson WorkForce 635 all-in-one, a new device that bundles fax, copying, and scanning capabilities with very high-speed ink jet printing, all in one package.

The WorkForce 635 is a handsome machine, with its black body, piano black accents, and color LCD front panel. It’s also not too large for such a versatile device, and should fit nicely on a desk or small shelf.

Instructions on the LCD and the bundled software CD walk you through the setup process, and the WorkForce 635 was up and running on my wireless network in minutes. (Wired network or USB connection options are also available.) The device supports either Windows XP and later or Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later.

I was pleased with the output on my test prints. Blacks were crisp and dark, and color fidelity was very good, even when printing on plain paper in an economy mode. Also, kudos to Epson for shipping this device with a set of four full, high-capacity ink cartridges, instead of the half-full cartridges that some manufacturers provide.

I was particularly impressed by the high-quality photo output mode, which was better than I expected for a business-class device, although it still won’t match professional-grade photo prints.

One downside, however, is that while the paper tray can hold 250 sheets, there’s just the one tray for every size of paper, and no single-sheet feeder. The tray can’t detect what size paper is loaded, either, so you’ll want to double check before you use the one-touch photo printing feature.

The biggest selling point of the WorkForce 635 is speed. Epson claims it’s the “world’s fastest all-in-one,” and while I can’t verify that, I can confirm this is one zippy little printer. Black text output was as fast as some higher-end laser printers, and even full-page color output was respectably quick. In tests at standard resolution, it averaged about 10 pages per minute (ppm) for black text and closer to 4 ppm for complex, full-color documents mixing text and graphics.

The device can also print on both sides of the paper in automatic full-duplex mode, which is somewhat unusual for an ink jet printer, but it prints a little slower that way. Printing a complex, full-color document with a mix of graphs and text in full duplex mode at standard quality averaged about 3 pages per minute.

The WorkForce 635 can also scan double-sided originals from the document feeder, though in my tests I often saw images bleeding through from the other side of the page. Overall the scanner works well, and I was impressed by Epson’s full-featured scanner software. Epson also bundles the ABBYY Fine Reader Sprint optical character recognition (OCR) software, which allows you to scan directly into Microsoft Office or PDF documents.

On the other hand, I was disappointed that you can only initiate a scan from the device’s front panel and send the results to your PC if the WorkForce 635 is connected directly to the computer via USB. This seems like an unfortunate oversight for a networked printer.

Epson’s lightweight, plastic construction, typical for this class of device, makes the WorkForce 635 poorly suited for high-traffic, high-volume environments. But if you’re in the market for a very fast, versatile device for an individual or small workgroup, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better all-in-one. The WorkForce 635 is shipping now, with a suggested retail price of $229.99.

About Neil McAllister

Neil is a confirmed gadget and technology junkie, and has covered topics related to business computing and the Internet for a variety of publications for more than ten years. He lives in San Francisco.
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7 comments
nico indra
nico indra

i have this printer and the function is great. i love how the printer can print, scan, and copy in double sided with a simple way. unfortunately i found this double sided print can not be done if using the network (wireless). only via usb print can be done perfectly. this is only minus thing that found so far. also this printer still not sopport google cloud print :(

Laurie
Laurie

Is it compatible with quickbooks and windows 7? Bought a HP office jet printer and it won't print checks in quickbooks. A known problem that I now see on lots of websites. Looking for a compatible all in one printer to use.

Jack
Jack

My Artisan 835 is great in many aspects. However, I can not get the Scan to PC to work over a wired network connection. I have ethernet cable from printer to the router. Printing and everything else works a treat. My laptop prints wirelessly no problem. The Scan to PC window only shows USB. The network settings test runs successfully. No errors. Why does it not pick up my network / PC? I ran the scan utility and that picks up the Epson printer and reports no errors.The epson site claims that this function should work over any connection:Here's an extract: "3. Select the computer to which you want to scan:• If your Artisan 810 Series is directly connected to the computer with a USB cable, select USB Connection.• If your Artisan 810 Series is connected to the computer over a network, select the name of the computer on your network. "

Case
Case

Network scanning works fine. I just installed a Workforce 635 and experienced that same network scanning issue (USB only) until discovering the easy fix. For all the features to work properly, you have to connect/install via USB, wireless, or LAN cable from printer to network router. Using a LAN cable from the printer to the PC is considered an ad-hoc connection and some features will not work (such as network scanning). Everything work perfectly with any of the three supported connection methods. This is an absolutely fantastic printer so far. Even though it's not a proper photo printer, the duplex scanning and copying via the ADF made me choose the Workforce 635 over the Artisan 835.

Paul Wren
Paul Wren

I have the previous model the Workforce 610 and have found no problems scanning to any computer on the network - it sometimes takes a couple of seconds for all the available computers to appear on the printer screen. I have a desktop PC and a MacBook Pro and I can scan and print wirelessly from either and send a scan to either. The printer has exceeded my expectations in every way by a large margin.

Neil McAllister
Neil McAllister

I can only speak for our experience testing the product. I do see where it says you can scan to your PC using the scan button in the manual, but when we tried it, the only option we were given was "USB Connection." We were able to initiate a scan from the PC over the wireless network, so network setup wasn't the problem. It's possible that the "Scan to PC" functionality requires a newer version of the driver than the one we were supplied, or requires some other software that was not installed automatically by the included CD-ROM. We tested the printer on Windows 7 (64-bit).

Roger
Roger

Nice review.You say that scanning from the device's front panel to computer requires a USB connection. You've used it and I haven't, but looking at the printer's online Quick Guide on page 23, under Quick Scanning with the Scan Button, it says the following:"If you're scanning to your computer, select USB connection... or select the name of your computer if your product is connected over a network.." - http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&infoType=Doc&oid=152507&prodoid=63087904&category=Products -