Recently, we told you about five new high-performance Epson printers designed to increase productivity and efficiency (read all the details here). Since then, we have had an opportunity to test the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 ink jet printer. As we have come to expect from Epson, the WorkForce Pro WF-3820 did not disappoint.
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Apple Tech Talk Scorecard
|Excellent print quality
|Easy to use software
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 – Overview
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 is a 4-in-1 unit which includes print, copy, scan and fax functions. It uses a 4-color DURABrite Ultra pigment ink and is rated at 21 pages per minute in B&W and 11 PPM in color.
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 has a 35-page auto-document feeder (ADF) and supports 2-sided printing. It also has a large 250-sheet paper tray. There is a 2.7” color LCD screen mounted on the front panel, which tilts out for easy viewing.
The unit supports both wired and wireless operation.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 – Specifications
Here is a rundown on some of the more important specifications.
In the box is the WorkForce Pro WF-3820 printer, a Quick Setup Guide, a CD-ROM with drivers, a US power cord and 4 DURABrite Ultra Ink cartridge, one each in Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. The printer has a maximum print resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi.
Epson also has a detailed User Manual which you can see here.
The printer is one of the larger units we have tested. It measures 16.7” x 19.4” x 9.8” and weighs 19.4 lbs. That said, we have used some printers that were a similar size and found the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 to be much quieter and operate much more smoothly than some competing brands.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 – Set-up
We have tested several Epson printers over the years and always been very satisfied with the ease of the setup and the WorkForce Pro WF-3820 was ultimately no exception, although we had a harder time than we expected.
After completely unpacking the printer and removing all of the tape it was time to begin the set-up.
The included set-up guide (you can see it here), is well written and takes you step-by-step through the process. Basically, you need to install the included ink cartridges, charge the system and add the paper before actually doing the software installation, which can all be accomplished wirelessly.
While the printer includes a CD-ROM with drivers, our 2017 MacBook Pro does not have a CD-ROM drive. Regardless, we always download the latest software from the Epson support site.
The software installation and configuration process is highly automated so most of what you have to do is make a few selections and click the “Next” button to go through the process.
Once the software installation is completed, there is some additional set-up required for the fax but it too is quite easy.
In all, the set-up installation was what we expected from Epson and under normal circumstances we would have been done.
In this particular case, what we discovered is that the printing, copying and fax functions all worked well, and the scanning from the MacBook to the printer worked well, although it seemed to be much slower than we expected. But trying to use the remote scan function from the printer to the MacBook was not working. We also saw that the Wi-Fi signal level for the WorkForce Pro WF-3820 was extremely weak.
We spent a fair amount of time working with Epson support, including one of their senior technicians, to try and figure out what was happening. They had us set up a fixed IP address for the printer, uninstall and reinstall software, and even open some additional ports on our router. Eventually, they appeared to get it working. However, within an hour, we found that the printer once again was struggling to keep a Wi-Fi connection.
We won’t bore you with all the details other than to say after several additional days of troubleshooting, we determined that the problem was not with the Epson printer. Rather, there was an issue with the way a new router had been set up, and while it impacted the entire network, the WorkForce Pro WF-3820 suffered the most.
We reset the router to its factory default and manually configured it to our specifications. Once that was done, we re-ran the Epson set-up software and immediately saw an improvement. Print jobs and scanning from the computer to the printer where much faster than we originally say and scanning from the printer to the computer was working flawlessly.
It has been several weeks since we resolved this issue and have not had any issues with the WorkForce Pro WF-3820 operation since. We have a consistent, strong Wi-Fi signal and can scan from the printer to any of the computers on our network.
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 – Test Results
With our connectivity issues resolved we got to test out the full capabilities of the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820.
Overall print quality was excellent. The black text was crisp and the colors were bright without being over-saturated, like we have seen in some other printer brands.
The ADF works well whether it is being used for scanning or copying. The scanning function can produce output in a variety of formats including PDF, JPEG, TIFF, Multi-TIFF, and PNG. And the scanner bed can accept originals up to 8.5 x 11.7.
While we felt the 2.7” LCD display was a little on the small size, it was still adequate to do what we needed to do, and the ability to tilt out the front panel makes visibility much better. The overall layout of the menus are easy to understand and navigate. We liked that the on-board scan function not only allows you to scan to computers on the network, but also supports scanning directly to email, cloud services and network folders.
The fax function has the ability to store up to 100 numbers and can receive up to 2MB in memory or 180 pages. It can fax up to 33.6 Kbps and is both color and black & white capable.
The Epson driver and ScanSmart software is very user friendly and provides excellent control over almost every aspect of your document.
Epson also has a free app that allows you to print from your iPhone or iPad and there is a free service that allows you to send a print job to the printer via email from anywhere.
The Bottom Line
Over the years, we have reviewed many Epson scanners and printers. We can say, without hesitation, that Epson is consistently a best-in-class choice.
From the individual unit’s functionality to the overall design of their software and drivers, we have always gotten a good result from Epson products and the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 is no exception.
While we struggled with the initial set-up of the machine, we ultimately determined that our issues had nothing to do with the Epson printer itself. In addition, while not our intention, this gave us an opportunity to experience Epson technical support and we have to acknowledge their effort and determination in working to get this issue resolved. Quite honestly, knowing now what the root cause was, we think it’s amazing they ever got it to work at all.
Overall, we think the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 is a true workhorse. Whether in an office setting, a home office or if you just want a printer that can stand up to the needs of the modern family, this is an All-In-One unit that deserved serious attention. The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 comes with a 1-year warranty and has an MSRP of $149.99. It is available on Amazon.
The printer uses Epson T822 cartridges which are available individually, in combo packs and in XL versions for greater printing capacity. You can find all of the available cartridges on Amazon.
We would like to thank the folks at Epson for providing the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 for our testing and review.
What is your favorite brand of printer and what makes it your top choice? Why not join the conversation and leave a comment below?
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