WORKFORCE 1100 PERFORMANCE
WorkForce 1100 set up
The most difficult part of setting up the WorkForce 1100 is finding a desk big enough to hold it and a USB cable long enough to reach your PC. Assuming you can handle those issues, it’s a simple matter of installing the ink cartridges and installing the drivers and optional software from the included CD. After that you’re ready to print… and print big. Total time from cutting open the box to making the first print was less than 10 minutes (if you don’t count the time it took for me to find a long enough USB cable).
Ease of use
As a single-function inkjet, usability is pretty straightforward with the 1100. After a quick driver install, we put our review unit to the test, sending test prints from several common applications – Photoshop, Microsoft Power Point, Adobe Lightroom, and even Microsoft Word. Not surprisingly, we had no problems getting the output, in terms of size and quality, we were looking for regardless of what application we chose.
Speed and quality tests
One thing we’ve come to expect with wide-format printers is not to expect extremely fast print speeds. Still, the Epson WorkForce 1100 is faster than the Canon iX7000 we recently reviewed. The 1100 doesn’t waste too much time prepping the ink tanks and print head before printing a photo on the best photo quality setting. Plus, the Epson doesn’t use a dedicated clear ink, so it finishes printing that much faster. Printing an 11×17 print on 13×19 paper using Photoshop CS3 at best photo quality, the WorkForce 1100 took just a few seconds more than three minutes. In comparison, the Canon iX7000 took more than 10 minutes from a “cold” startup while prepping the ink tanks to final output the color image on semi-gloss photo paper.
Text quality looks nearly as good as what you expect to find from low-cost laser printers, and image quality rivals cheaper wide-format photo printers. Again, 11×17 and 13×19 photos look virtually identical to photos from the Epson Stylus Photo R1900 as long as you’re not using a magnifying glass.
Ink control tests
The one major complaint we have with the Epson WorkForce 1100 in terms of ink is the same complaint we’ve made in the past when reviewing Epson wide-format printers: the ink cartridges are too small.
Although the 1100 is a well-calibrated printer that uses just the right amount of ink to produce fantastic 13×19 prints, it uses the same size ink cartridges as a standard printer. Granted, this means it’s easy to find replacement ink cartridges at an office supply store, but the obvious problem is that the 1100 consumes more ink than a smaller printer simply because larger prints require more ink.
How much more ink? Well, we printed four 11×17 color prints and one borderless 13×19 print using the “best photo” setting (which provides the best print quality but uses the most ink). After making those five prints the Epson ink management system reported that the cyan (blue) ink cartridge was down to approximately 75% capacity. At that rate of ink consumption the WorkForce 1100 would have required a new ink cartridge after printing only about 20 large photos using the “best photo” setting.
In our standard ink control tests, we exhaust (printing until the color runs out) a new set of cartridges; exhaustion meaning the printer will not print another “quality” document without a cartridge replacement. We print at a ratio of three 8.5×11 inch pages of black and white text to one full page of color. We decided on the 3:1 ratio because we felt that the average user is printing more text than color.
At the ratio of 3:1 in Epson’s Standard Printing mode, the Epson 1100 printed 497 pages before the magenta ink cartridge expired (ran out of ink). The printer software does give several warnings before the cartridge expires completely, and it’s worth noting that the Epson software said the magenta ink was exhausted at least a dozen pages before we noticed loss of print quality. Bottom line, the WorkForce 1100 does a fine job with ink capacity for standard 8.5×11 inch prints in the default print mode, but if you select the “best photo” quality and print large documents then don’t expect the ink to last long.
The WorkForce 1100 is definitely energy efficient; in ready mode it uses only between 2 W and 4 W of power. In warm up, it fluctuates between 9 W and 12 W consumed before dropping into ready mode.
Depending on the job printing, energy consumption varies. For smaller jobs or jobs printed in high quality modes, the printer slows down and uses between 14 W and 17 W of power before returning to ready mode. For large jobs or jobs printed in standard and draft modes, the printer works harder and uses between 18 W and 26 W of energy.
These figures all point to the same conclusion: the WorkForce 1100 is a very energy-efficient wide-format printer.