The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 ($399.99) is Epson's flagship WorkForce Pro printer—the top-of-the-line model. It's packed with features, including some, like support for HP's Printer Command Language (PCL) and PostScript, that you won't find in many inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs). If you need support for PCL, PostScript, or both, the WF-5690 ($399.99 at Epson) delivers it, along with plenty of additional functionality and features to make it our top pick for moderate to heavy-duty printing in a micro or small office.
Like the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 ($399.99 at Epson) , the WF-5690 is built around Epson's PrecisionCore technology, which allows multiple print chips in a single print head. Each chip adds more ink nozzles, letting the printer put more ink on paper at once for faster printing. The WF-5690, like the Epson WF-4630, packs four chips into the print head, which helps make it faster than some lasers.
The WF-5690 delivers excellent paper handling. It comes with a 250-sheet front drawer and an 80-sheet rear tray standard, plus a built-in duplexer (for two-sided printing). That should be enough for most micro and small offices, but if you need more, you can add a second 250-sheet tray ($99.99) for a total 580-sheet capacity.Our Experts Have Tested 53 Products in the Printers Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
The BasicsThe WF-5690 measures 18.1 by 25.8 by 5.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 31.5 pounds. Along with fast speed and excellent paper handling, it offers a long list of MFP features. In addition to printing, it can fax from and scan to a computer, including over a network, it can work as a standalone copier and fax machine, and it can print from and scan to a USB memory key. It also offers a 4.3-inch color touch screen, with an easy-to-use set of menus for giving commands.4.0Excellent $245.03See Itat NeweggRead Our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 Review4.0ExcellentCheck Stockat AmazonRead Our HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP Review 4.0Excellent Read Our HP Officejet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Review
Beyond these basics, the WF-5690 supports mobile printing and connections to the cloud. If you connect it to a network, using either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, you can print from iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Kindle Fire devices through a Wi-Fi access point. If the network is connected to the Internet, you can also print through the cloud and scan directly to any of several cloud services—Box, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive. If you connect to a single PC by USB cable instead, you can't use the cloud-based features, but you can still print from a mobile device, thanks to the printer's Wi-Fi Direct capability, which lets you connect directly to the printer.
For scanning, the WF-5690 gives you the choice between using its letter-size flatbed and its 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF). The ADF can handle up to legal size paper, and it also duplexes by turning the page over and scanning the second side. The duplex scanning combined with duplex printing lets you copy both single- and double-sided originals to your choice of single- or double-sided copies.
Setup, Speed, and Output QualityFor my tests, I connected the WF-5690 to a wired network and installed the drivers and software on a Windows Vista system. Setup was standard fare. The printer's performance was anything but.
I clocked the WF-5690 on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing), at 10.1 pages per minute (ppm), which is blazingly fast for an inkjet. The Epson WF-4630 turned in essentially the same speed, which isn't surprising, since it also uses a four-chip PrecisionCore print head. However both printers leave the HP Officejet Pro 276dw MFP ($399.99 at Epson) in the dust, at 5.9ppm. That's one of the key reasons the WF-5690 replaces the HP model as Editors' Choice.
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Overall output quality isn't as impressive as the speed, but it's good enough to count as another plus. Text quality is better than most inkjets overall, with crisp, highly readable characters even at small font sizes in the default setting.
Graphics output is easily good enough for any internal business use. However, I saw some minor banding in large areas of dark colors, including black and dark blue. Depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, you may not consider the quality good enough for PowerPoint handouts or the like. You can eliminate the banding by setting the driver for higher quality, but that also slows down the print speed.
For photos, Epson recommends its matte presentation paper. In my tests, the output on the matte paper was better quality than you'll get with typical drugstore prints. If you expect photos to have a glossy finish, however, you may not like the matte look.
One final important factor in the WF-5690 is its low running cost. Based on Epson's claimed yields and ink prices, the cost per page works out to just 1.6 cents for monochrome and 7.2 cents for color.
The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 offers lots of strong points with no serious weaknesses. If you don't need PCL or PostScript and don't need the second 250-sheet tray, you can get most of the same features, including similar speed, for less money with the Epson WF-4630. But for offices that need a printer with PCL, PostScript, or both, the WF-5690 offers fast speed, a long list of MFP features, a low running cost, and enough paper capacity for moderate to heavy-duty use. The combination makes it an easy pick for our Editors' Choice.4.0Editors' ChoiceSee It$399.99 at EpsonMSRP $399.99View More
If you need a multifunction printer that includes PCL or PostScript support, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 is an excellent fit for moderate to heavy-duty printing in a micro or small office.
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