Review: Epson Workforce Pro WF-R5690 Printer

The Epson Workforce Pro WF-R5690 printer is designed as an affordable option to color laser jet printers. Epson positions the WF-R5690 for small offices and enterprise workgroups that need easy-to-maintain hardware and an affordable way to print in color.

The CRN Test Center got its hands on a review unit of the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R5690 and took it through its paces. Here is what we found.

Epson flips the ink economics of the WorkForce Pro WF-R5690 on its head by selling ink in bulk, as opposed to selling it by itsy-bitsy expensive cartridges. With the WF-R5690, Epson customers buy ink by the bag. Epson charges about $100 to replace each of the three ink pouches and $150 for black.

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This Replaceable Ink Pack System, as Espson calls it, can deliver up to 50,000 pages without changing the ink and is Epson's own version of the popular continuous ink systems being rolled out by competitors.

The WF-R5690 is a multifunction printer that prints, scans, copies and faxes. It's tested to deliver 20 pages per minute for both color and black-and-white copies and 11 pages per minute for two-sided printing. The WF-R5690 has two 250-sheet trays.

Standout features beyond Epson's Replaceable Ink Pack System include the fact it's extremely easy to set up, taking about 40 minutes from closed box to printing, scanning and faxing. In addition, the ink packs were easy to add and remove -- not one mess.

Rear connectors include an Ethernet, RJ11 and a USB port. On the front side is a 4-inch color touch-screen display along with a USB port for self-serve printing. Wireless support includes Wireless LAN IEEE, Wi-Fi Direct and Epson Connect for printing directly from mobile devices.

But Epson's real hope is to win the hearts of laser loyalists unwilling to consider inkjet as a viable and affordable alternative. Although we did not test for power consumption, Epson claims the WF-R5690 uses up to 70 percent less power than laser printers and can cut paper consumption in half with two-sided printing.

When CRN compared WF-R5690 prints to comparable color laser prints, the former prints were noticeably more detailed.

There also are a number of partner- and service-friendly aspects to the printer. For starters, the WF-R5690 supports remote diagnostics by service providers and has fewer moving parts, reducing the odds of mechanical breakdowns.