Let’s talk printers! I know, we are moving towards a paperless world, but you still need one of these things even if you don’t use it often. So, is there a printer that doesn’t cause frustration, just works and can do everything you need and maybe help you enter the paperless future? Yes, the Epson WF-3640 can do all these things and at a surprisingly affordable price point. Multiple scanning options? Check. Multiple connectivity options? Check. Multiple Paper Trays? Check. You should consider this for a future proof printer.
This is a printer, so there isn’t a crazy number of things to talk about because printers have done the same things for years its just a matter of quality and affordability for one to do what exactly you need. However this is the 3640 variant. Epson also sells a similar 3620. Both units are pretty much identical and the only difference I know of is that the 3620 only has a single paper tray, while the 3640 has two. With that said, why did we buy the variant with two trays? At the time it was cheaper. Seriously, it cost less to buy this version at the time than the one with a single tray.
So with that said, let’s talk about:
Additional Feature details can be found on Epson’s Website here. The main items to point out are noted below.
- CMYK Printer With Color Separated Cartridges
- 35 page auto document feeder with automatic double sided scan(up to 70 page sides!)
- Cross Compatible with Windows/Mac and Linux. (Yes they even provide their own Linux driver.)
- Cross Compatible with mobile/tablet devices with native AirPrint support, Google Cloud Print(Requires an internet connection) and Epson Connect.
- Connect to your PC via Hi-Speed USB, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n or wired 10/100 Ethernet
- Memory Card Slot
- 3.5″ touch screen (color)
- Dual paper trays holding up to 500 sheets(250 per tray) with additional rear paper feed tray.
- Duplex Printing
- Supports multiple document formats, from standard to legal, and adjustable feed for envelopes.
As you may expect this printer does a fine job at printing. Documents are clean and smudge free all with a nice and quick 19 pages per minute in black and white and up to 10 pages per minute in color. Which if you haven’t used a printer this fast you will most likely be blown away with the speed in which you can get your prints completed.
I haven’t attempted printing any high quality photos to photo paper, however the clarity shown on standard paper is tremendous. Epson touts its high speed, high detail/precision printing with their PrecisonCore technology that is exclusive to their printers. However, not testing or comparing directly with others, I am not able to verify how it stands. What I can say is that the colors are vibrant, the lines are crisp and it does so at a pace that is wonderfully fast regardless of whatever term they have for it.
There is nothing else really to say other than it performs very well and better than our previous printer. Our last printer(an Epson NX230) was good enough to print our Wedding bulletins on so I am confident this will handle and printing that any home user or small office could throw at it. I have high confidence in Epson from my previous experiences.
This is the main reason why we bought this printer. We had a previous working Epson printer and upgraded to this so we could go paperless without having to manually load each page and scan both sides. Looking online for pure scanners that had this auto feed with double sided capability I noticed that they cost as much as printers that had this built in. As I didn’t want to have multiple devices lying around and the previous printer had already paid for itself I decided to get the WF-3640 to get everything in one.
Paperless Made Easy
The large feeder size and double sided scanning made going paperless a breeze. Allyson took charge of scanning all our documents and it only took a few days to sort and scan all of them to files (avoiding scanning anything we had filed but didn’t need). We had no documents that exceeded the max feed size so it became a load, press a button and go process. It was almost too easy. The process just required that we select the computer to send files to and then press scan. We could have even scanned directly to a USB flash drive or memory card if we wanted which are a nice amount of options to have. As the process is so simple, intuitive and quick, buying this printer solely for its scanning capability is something I would recommend.
Preserving Collections (Digitally)
In addition to scanning documents, I have tested this scanning not photos, but box art for video games I own. From my retro collection I had a number of cardboard boxes from games that I had kept because of the games significance to me or because I really enjoyed the artwork/composition that went into it. As we have lived in two separate apartments now, I have found each to be far more damp than I am comfortable with leaving cardboard lying around. It’s bound to go bad, get soggy and mold up in these kind of environments as I have seen with numerous other boxes I have had. So, keeping the ideals of minimalism in mind I decided I would scan all the boxes I could and photograph the rest to preserve them so I could save them for viewing later and to even help save some space.
The results are great. Using default settings it scanned the documents at a high enough resolution/quality that all the colors and text are preserved and, like it or not, box imperfections such as wrinkles defects etc all showed up with vivid detail. It did exactly what I needed, preserve the boxes as is for future viewing pleasure.
Currently I have only used the Ethernet option as we have a household of many devices and they all need to share. This was actually a huge selling point for me as I have longed for the simplicity of just plugging the device into a router or switch and then letting the computer find it instead of having to program the printer to access the network. So as we have a home network including numerous wireless devices I wanted to keep the airwaves with as little clutter as possible and wire what I could. It’s literally plug and play, but I can set an IP address so I can always know what my printer is. These are all things that are great for businesses or tech enthusiasts who like to enforce strict home networking configurations.
I have not attempted the USB and wifi options, but I would think they work just as well as any other printer. These were the only two options on our previous Epson and they both worked flawlessly. So I assume the same easy software set up and requirement of tethering to a PC to configure initially.
The touch screen adds an incredible amount of ease into the unit by allowing you to interface directly as with almost all business class printers/copiers. This means you can check or cancel print jobs, get ink levels as well as network and device information without having to boot up a PC and use software to access anything. It’s a one stop shop allowing you to pick scanning and printing options including scanning to or printing from a memory card/flash drive. The user interface is simple and too the point and I feel that you can’t get lost or break things too easily. However, as a disclaimer I have worked closely with printers for the past few years at my job so I may be a little biased here and have a pre-existing understanding of how they are usually set up.
You may wonder why I picked Epson. The truth is that I had a pretty good experience with a previous product from them and thought they would fit the bill for an upgrade. The main thing that I like is that they support Windows/Mac/and Linux. When purchasing hardware I always try to make sure its at least Windows/Mac compatible and always try to find something that has at least basic Linux compatibility be it official or unofficially supported. Having used Epson’s Linux drivers before I find they provide a solid cross platform experience. So, I decided to support them and make my life easier buy purchasing something that works on all the OS’s running in my home.
With that said, although it is cross platform I recall reading about certain issues or features being unable on certain OS’s. If my memory is correct, scanning can give Mac users trouble when using an older version instead of the latest release. I am sure there are limitations I haven’t found yet on Linux as well. Please do your own research to ensure that all the features you need are available on your platform of choice before purchasing.
If you are in the market to go paperless or have needs to scan many documents this printer is worth every cent. However, If you are looking for a basic printer, you can find many more options at a much cheaper price points. I would recommend anyone who needs more than just the basics to upgrade to this if you can spare the slightly large entrance fee. This machine at the time of writing is about $120 USD on sale, which seems to be perpetual as this is what we paid back in the spring and I haven’t seen it cost more since then. I can’t think of a case when this machine would let anyone down.