The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 ($550 MSRP) is a step up from most small business multifunction (MFP) color inkjet printers. It's designed for a workgroup or department, and it sports several amped-up features. After all, printers that serve several people see a lot more action than a device intended for one or two staff members.
Duty cycle is one such feature, and Epson lists the WF-6590's as 75,000 pages a month, although as with most duty cycle estimates the recommended monthly volume is 5,000 pages a month. Still, that’s an entire case—ten reams—of paper. If you’re wondering how often you need to refill the paper tray given that volume, the answer is—not often. In standard configuration, the WF-6590 provides a 500-sheet capacity paper drawer. An additional rear paper feed—for heavier paper stock, offers an additional 80-sheet capacity.
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But there’s no reason to buy a high-speed, high-capacity MFP if you don't take advantage of its features. If your business does a lot of printing, or if you want several different types of paper available, you can outfit the WF-6590 with one or two additional 500-sheet paper trays—for a total paper capacity of slightly more than three reams.
The optional paper trays provide added flexibility; you can keep blank paper in one, letterhead in another, and a different type of paper—such as checks or forms you print frequently—in the third. No more constantly changing out paper in the primary input feed. Of course, you'll pay for that flexibility—the extra paper trays will cost you $200 each.
Unpacking the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Multifunction Printer
Multifunction inkjet printers designed for home or small office tend to be small so they can fit in almost anywhere. The WF-6590 sits on the other end of the spectrum. With the output tray extended, it measures 20.3- x 29.8- x 21.3-inches and weighs a hefty 68.3 pounds. It takes two people to unbox it, and it needs a sturdy table to call home.
Inside the box we found a power cord, four ink cartridges, and a CD containing print and scan drivers and the Epson Document Capture Pro scan software. Drivers and scan utilities support Windows and MAC OS 10.x, and the printer control languages include PCL and Postscript 3 emulation.
If you plan to use the fax features, you’ll need to buy an RJ-11 telephone cord—available pretty much anywhere for a few dollars. Also missing: a USB cable. If you plan to connect the MFP via USB, go buy a cable first. In-box documentation includes a short setup and user guide. You'll find a large user manual online, and the printer install process creates a link on your desktop to makes accessing the manual easy.
Setting Up the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Multifunction Printer
Setup is quick and easy. Once you remove all the shipping tape, plug in the WF-6590 and insert the ink cartridges. The unit then takes 10 minutes or so to prime before you can proceed with the install. When you boot the install CD, it directs you to Epson’s support site to download the drivers and utility software. It also gives you the choice of installing from the CD, which is what we chose.
You can connect the WF-6950 in multiple ways. As with most printers and MFPs, a USB port provides direct connection to a computer. Wi-Fi Direct also provides a direct connection to a PC or to smart mobile device. You can print from mobile devices using NFC (Near Field Communication)—if the devices support it.
You connect the WorkForce Pro WF-6590 to a network through either Wi-Fi or with wired Ethernet, which is how we connected our review unit. We were up and printing the test page in just a few minutes.
Exploring the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Multifunction Printer
Epson designed the WorkForce Pro WF-6590 for heavy office use, and you can see that reflected in its excellent features. The large, 4.3-inch color touchscreen make functions such as copy and scan easy to access and use. The scanner provides an optical resolution of 1,200 dpi, and the automatic document feeder (ADF)—which features one-pass duplexing (two-sided scanning)—holds up to 50 pages of documents.
The UBS 2.0 port on the front of the MFP makes it easy to plug in a thumb drive or portable USB hard disk and both print directly from—or scan to—that USB device. You have a variety of scan options including Scan-to-Cloud, Scan-to-Email, and Scan to a password-protected PDF.
The WorkForce Pro WF-6590's outstanding input paper capacity requires ink cartridges that can withstand long print jobs, and Epson has you covered. The ink cartridges come in three capacity sizes.
- Standard (748) cartridges yield roughly 2,500 black pages and 1,500 color pages
- 748XL cartridges yield approximately 5,000 black pages and 4,000 color pages
- 748XXL cartridges yield an estimated 10,000 black pages and 7,000 color pages
These cartridges don’t come cheap; the standard 748 cartridges cost about $70 for black and $152 for each color, while the 748XL cartridges run $100 for black and $80 per color. Finally, the super capacity XXL cartridges clock in at $153 and $120 for black and color respectively.
The WorkForce WF-6590 has a security feature you almost never find in a printer or an MFP in this price range. You can set printer access so that employees must enter a PIN to print, scan, or copy on the device. You can also use this PIN identification for Hold-and-Release, where PC holds the print job until you enter an authorized PIN at the printer.
Superior MFP Color Inkjet Performance
Print speed is an essential feature of a workgroup or heavy-use printer. When you move a lot of paper through a printer, you want it done fast. The WF-6590 does not disappoint. Epson claims a 24 ppm print speed in monochrome or color. We tested it using the Word and Excel documents in our testing and, averaging print speed over several runs, we came up with 25.4ppm. That’s pretty fast for an MFP that costs less than $1,000.
We're also impressed with the print quality. Epson doesn’t claim that the WF-6590 has photo quality output, but the image quality on the photo files in our test suite was excellent for a four-color printer. It produced accurate, well-saturated prints when we printed on glossy photo paper. Output on high-quality inkjet paper produced good-looking reports and handouts. Finally, Epson’s PrecisionCore print head technology produced sharp and very readable monochrome Word documents—even at smaller font sizes.
We didn’t time Copy performance, but we did copy several long documents in both single side and double-sided modes. Most inkjet-based MFPs are designed for an occasional copy or two. The WF-6590 functions well as a copier, even on longer copy jobs.
The fax capability works exactly as you would expect. Load the documents in the ADF, punch in the receiving fax number, and hit start. We also tested the scanner using the Import function of Picasa 3. The printer installs a default TWAIN driver, so the scanner should work with any TWAIN-based application. Our test scans were quick, with accurate color and detail.
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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590: A Good Value
You won’t find the WF-6590 in many big-box stores. It’s designed solely for business use, and you can buy it from Epson, select office product dealers, and business websites such as CDW.com. One small oddity: the WF-6590 comes with only a 1-year warranty (many of its less expensive printers and MFPs carry a 3-year warranty). Given its relatively low acquisition price and high-end performance, we don’t see this as a deal-breaker.
If your business handles high-volume of printing, and you need the added features that an MFP supplies, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 makes a solid choice for your office or department.
Ted Needleman published his first review in 1978. Since then, he has written several thousand hardware and software reviews, columns, articles on using technology, and two books. He has no intention of stopping any time soon.
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