The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290 ($249.99) is an entry-level, medium-duty color laser alternative that's well-suited for use in small and midsize offices or workgroups, or as a node in an enterprise fleet of printers. Like its all-in-one sibling, the WorkForce Pro WF-C5790, it's fast, affordable to use in the long-term, has a respectable paper capacity, and churns out laser-quality output. All that, along with its convenient high-yield replaceable ink packs, makes this inkjet printer an Editors' Choice.
Measuring 17.7 by 16.7 by 22.8 inches (HWD) with its trays open, and weighing 33.7 pounds, the WF-C5290 is somewhat taller and longer than some of the entry-level and medium-duty color laser-class printers I've reviewed recently, including the HL-L3270CDW, the Canon Color imageClass LBP612Cdw, and the Brother HL-L8260CDW, a medium-duty Editors' Choice color laser machine. Some of the WF-C5290's unusual height comes from the ink storage compartment (designated with an A in the image below) located beneath the main 250-sheet paper cassette. The 80-sheet multipurpose tray that extends out and up from the back of the chassis also increases both the height and depth.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.)
Between the front and back trays, the WF-C5290's default paper input configuration is 330 sheets, expandable to 850 with an optional 500-sheet drawer ($199.99), and its maximum monthly duty cycle is 45,000 pages (with a recommended monthly print volume of 2,500 pages). Those specs fall in the middle of the pack of the WF-C5290's competition mentioned here.4.5Outstanding $1,462.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Brother MFC-J6935DW Review 4.0Excellent $334.37See Itat Amazon Read Our Canon Pixma TR8520 Wireless Home Office All-In-One Printer Review 4.0Excellent $899.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One Review 4.0Excellent $199.99See Itat AdoramaRead Our Canon Pixma TS9520 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Printer Review 4.0Excellent $349.99See Itat Dell TechnologiesRead Our Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-Format Inkjet Printer Review 4.0Excellent $299.99See It at DellRead Our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4740 Review 4.0Excellent $544.95See Itat AmazonRead Our Epson WorkForce WF-7210 Wide-Format Printer Review 4.0Excellent $179.99See Itat AmazonRead Our HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Printer Review4.0Excellent $219.95See Itat Apple.comRead Our HP Tango X Review4.0ExcellentCheck Stockat AmazonRead Our HP OfficeJet Pro 8216 Review
Like most business-oriented printers, you can make security and other configuration changes, monitor usage, view and print reports, order supplies, and so on from WF-C5290's built-in secure (HTTPS) website; or, of course, from the control panel. Given that all the WF-C5290 really does is print, its high-tech control panel, shown in the image below, is slick. It consists of a handful of navigation buttons and a few status LEDs anchored by a 2.4-inch color touch screen.
Standard connectivity consists of Wi-Fi, Ethernet, connecting to a single PC via USB 2.0, and Wi-Fi Direct. That last one is a peer-to-peer protocol designed to allow the printer to connect to smartphones and tablets without either it or them being part of a network or connected to a router.
Mobile connectivity comes primarily from a set of apps—Epson Email Print, Epson iPrint Mobile, and Epson Remote Print—called Epson Connect. Via iPrint or from the WF-C5290's control panel, you can connect to Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, or Amazon's Fire OS third-party mobile solutions.
Security features, too, are accessible from either the control panel or the WF-C5290's built-in Web Config website. With User Control Access, you can restrict specific features or deny access altogether by user, a group of users, or by incoming IP addresses. You can also secure sensitive print jobs with personal identification numbers or make data illegible while transporting it to and from the printer with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Laser Security (TLS) encryption protocols.
In addition to the standard printer drivers, the WF-C5290's software bundle includes drivers for HP's PCL 5 and PCL 6 page description languages (PDLs) emulation, as well as emulation for Adobe's PostScript 3, which provides integration with hard copy document and graphic design applications. You also get support for Epson Open Platform, which allows you to integrate the printer with enterprise applications such as PaperCut MF, PrinterLogic and other document-management workflows.
Other fleet-management features include support for remote printer data collection and compatibility with MPS (managed print service) software applications from PrintFleet, ECi (FMAudit), and others to help you collect, store, analyze, and share critical usage data. I've never seen such extensive fleet integration-support in a printer that costs less than $300.
Epson rates the WF-C5290 at 24 pages per minute (ppm). Though that's fast enough for many applications, it falls behind the ratings of several competing models, including the Brother HL-L8260CDW's 33ppm and the HP PageWide Pro 452dw's 40ppm.
That said, I tested the WF-C5290 over Ethernet from PCMag's standard Intel Core i5-equipped testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. It printed our 12-page Microsoft Word text file at an average rate of 26.4ppm. That's 1.4ppm faster than the Brother HL-L3270CDW, but 6.6ppm slower than the HL-L8260CDW, and 5ppm behind the HP 452dw. Unfortunately, the Canon LBP612Cdw was tested under a previous methodology, thereby making a comparison here illogical.
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For the next part of my tests, I printed several colorful and complex Acrobat, Excel, and PowerPoint documents comprised of text in several typefaces and sizes, as well as charts, graphs, tables, and other embedded business graphics. Then, I combined the scores from these tests with the results from printing the 12-page text document in the previous test, to come up with a score of 16.1ppm to print our entire business document suite.
That's 3.7ppm faster than the HL-L3270CDW, 2.3 faster than the HL-L8260CDW, and a mere 0.3ppm slower than the HP 452dw. In other words, the WorkForce Pro WF-C5290 performed quite well when printing the highly complex and colorful graphics-laden portions of our tests.
If high-quality text and detailed graphics and images are what you're looking for from your next business printer, the PrecisionCore printheads in Epson's WorkForce Pro machines are about as good as it gets. Each WorkForce Pro printhead is populated with four ink chips (compared with the non-Pro WorkForce models that come with only two ink chips) that use significantly more, and smaller, tightly condensed ink nozzles that apply ink to paper with greater accuracy than traditional printheads.
Like all WorkForce Pro models, the WF-C5290 churns out documents you and your business can be proud of. However, the WF-C5290 can't print borderless photos and documents, which would give the WF-C5290 an even greater edge over its laser-class competition.
A definite benefit of the WF-C5290 is that its cost per page (CPP) runs about half that of most comparably priced laser printers. When you buy Epson's highest-yield ink packs (up to 5,000 color pages or 10,000 monochrome pages), your black CPP will run about 1.7 cents and color pages cost about 7.7 cents each. The Canon LBP612Cdw's running costs for monochrome pages are nearly twice that much, and color pages will cost you more than twice as much as the WF-C5290. Of the printers discussed here, only HP's 452dw laser alternative (which lists for twice as much as the WF-C5290), costs less to use than the WF-C5290.
Aside from the inability to print borderless pages and photos, there is little to dislike about the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290. It prints well at respectable speeds, and it costs less than comparable laser counterparts. The high-yield ink packs and expandable paper capacity extend the periods between reloading consumables, which is not only convenient, but also allows for extended uptime before taking the machine out of service to change ink or add paper.
Then there's also the comprehensive fleet and document-workflow compatibility that's unheard of on printers in this price range. The WF-C5290 brings a lot to the table for a wide range of business users, making it an easy top pick as a medium-duty printer for small to midsize offices and workgroups, or as a member of an enterprise fleet of printers.4.0Editors' ChoiceSee It$329.99 at AmazonMSRP $249.99View More
The medium-duty Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290 inkjet printer is loaded with high-end features at a low-end price.
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