Print speed and quality tests
Epson has backed off the claims that print speeds topped out at 38 pages per minute (ppm) as they advertised with the Epson WorkForce 610 and WorkForce 600. In my opinion, this was a smart decision; I don’t think I’ve reviewed an inkjet printer that has printed 38 pages per minute – even in draft mode. Instead, Epson took a different route by claiming that the advertised default print speeds at 15 ppm made the WorkForce 635 the fastest in its class. Which is slightly humorous to me since the “world’s fastest print speeds” are actually 23 ppm slower than what Epson advertised the previous generation WorkForce 610 at but i guess times have changed.
During my tests, I found that when printing black and white documents in the default text mode, the WorkForce 635 printed about 15 ppm with a first page out in as fast as eight seconds. Add color into that equation and speeds dropped down to about 5 ppm. The images in text mode were good, not great, but if you print in text and image mode and use higher quality paper, the quality of the color images went up significantly.
Printing in draft mode did pick up print speeds. When printing strictly black and white text document in draft mode, I got an average of 20 ppm from the WorkForce 635 with a first page out in five seconds.
But the draft quality was average, at best. The black and white draft text was similar to what we saw with the WorkForce 610, sort of reminiscent of old school dot matrix style text but it still could be used for rough drafts or memos.
The WorkForce 635 did a good job with photo printing but the quality was not as great and the speeds much slower than the inkjets focused on photo printing, like its Artisan counterparts. The 635 printed a 4×6 photo in under a minute and a half and printed an 8.5 x 11 inch image in just under three minutes. The quality was good enough for display in my opinion but compared to the Epson Artisan 835 or Canon Pixma MG8120 (both flagship photo printers) the colors aren’t quite as bright and blacks aren’t as deep(all images below were scanned in using the WorkForce 635).
Below, you can see the difference in color between the original balloon image and the printed/scanned WorkForce 635 image.
Of course, the WorkForce is geared towards an office environment and so the photo printing standards aren’t held quite as high as being able to print documents quickly and efficiently.
Ink control tests
In our tests, we exhaust (printing until the color runs out) a new set of cartridges. In this case, “exhaustion” means the printer will not print another “quality” document without a replacement. We print at a ratio of three 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.
The Epson WorkForce 635 included four extra high capacity DURABrite Ultra 127 pigment ink cartridges in CMYK in the original packaging so these are the cartridges we ran through the ink control tests. Epson also offers high capacity DURABrite Ultra 126 ink cartridges in CMYK for the WorkForce 635.
At the ratio of 3:1 in Epson’s text (default) printing mode, the WorkForce 635 printed about 402 pages before the printer’s status monitor (mentioned in Ease of Use section) alerted me that the magenta ink cartridge was running low. I continued to print until in the middle of a job, the WorkForce 635 threw up identical error messages alerting me to the fact that magenta cartridge was expired but that I could continue to temporarily print in black. I did not since the last four pages of the job were all color images. With the extra high capacity cartridges, the WorkForce 635 printed 558 pages during our tests.
I had no paper jams to report during my test which must mean I’m getting more skilled at loading paper cassettes or that the WorkForce 635 can really hold 250 sheets of copy paper.
Like the previous generation of WorkForce printers we’ve reviewed, the WorkForce 635 is EnergyStar qualified as well as RoHS compliant. In sleep mode, with the LCD dark, the WorkForce 635 pulls in about 3 W of power. In ready mode, with the LCD on, the number jumps to 5W of energy.
Depending on the job printing, energy consumption varies. For jobs printed in high quality modes or photo printing, the printer slows down and uses between 13-16 W of power before returning to ready mode. For jobs printed in the default text print mode, the printer uses between 15-20 W of energy. The WorkForce 635 uses the most energy when printing in draft mode; the energy use ranged between 20-24 W.