This colour inkjet is bulkier than most, despite having no scanning, copying or fax capabilities. What makes it interesting is the way you refill it, using neither conventional cartridges, nor the bottled ink of Epson’s pricier EcoTank models. Instead it takes pouches reminiscent of high-tech fitness foods (don’t eat them). Spend around £ on a set of four T944 refills, and they’ll print 3,000 standard colour pages. At 5p per page, that’s a very reasonable running cost. If black text is your priority, you can do even better: a T9461 high-capacity black unit should last 10.000 pages. Non Epson compatible refills are also available for less.
Good-quality prints and impressively low running costs
There aren’t many other ways to print for a penny a page, and although it may seem a lot of money to pay at once, you’ll save a lot over time. The only downside is a 10-minute wait while the printer initialises new ink bags, but you won’t have to do that very often. Predictably, the printer doesn’t come with such large refills. We reckon you’ll get about 500 pages out of the starter inks. Again, though, that’s more than we’d usually expect. And if you shop around, you can find the printer substantially discounted.
You can tell the WF-C5290DW is built for demanding business buyers. The front panel is a bit more fiddly than the big touchscreens on some home inkjets, but easy enough to use, and there’s a full set
4800x1200dpi maximum print resolution •250- sheet paper tray • 80-sheet secondary tray • USB 2.0 • 10/100 Ethernet • 802.11n Wi-Fi • 357x425x535mm (HxWxD) • 15.3kg • One-year warranty (free three- year warranty on return of coupon)
of connections: USB to connect straight to a PC, Ethernet for wired networking, and Wi-Fi with Apple AirPrint for wireless printing, plus NFC for instant setup with many Android devices. You can set up remote printing, too, and even configure up to 10 users with their own settings and security. Automatic duplex (both sides) printing is supported, and there’s a proper second tray, not just a slot, to keep alternative paper loaded.
Epson mentions a top print speed of 34 pages per minute (ppm), but only claims 24ppm measured by the standard ISO protocol, and that matched our results for black text at Standard quality, which really means draft mode. High quality reduced that to 6.2ppm, while a colour document was just a fraction slower. These are still good results for an affordable inkjet, and we were happy with the print quality: colour gradients and greyscales looked impressively smooth, and photos came out with plenty of detail and no visible banding.
With low running costs, especially for black only, this plain printer is something of a bargain for the higher-volume user
If you need more than a printer, this adds fast scanning and copying