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HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2019: Editor's Choice - Part 2

By Team HardwareZone - 14 Mar 2019

Best Color Office Printer

Best Color Office Printer

For business users who care more about document print quality and print speed and don't give two hoots to other features, a laser or an LED printer is often the best option. But that rule of thumb has changed today thanks to advancement of inkjet printers, especially ink tank/ink pack models that offer low cost per print. For this category, we took it upon us to find the best ~S$600 color multi-function printer for SOHO and SME use. Both laser/LED and inkjet models were shortlisted.

 

Nominees:

  • Brother MFC-L3770CDW
  • Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790
  • HP Color LaserJet Pro M281fdw

 

And the winner is...

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790

After days of testing, we believe that the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790, a color inkjet printer, is the best sub-S$600 printer to get for office use. For some background, the WF-C5790 uses Epson’s Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS), which basically consists of four packets of ink (the usual cyan, magenta, yellow, and black colors) capable of printing up to 3,000 pages in black-and-white and 3,000 pages in color. And replacing these ink packs couldn’t be simpler: just eject the ink pack tray, pull out the old pack and put in the new one, and then slide the tray back.

The WF-C5790 can also be expanded with an optional 500-sheet paper tray to bring total paper input capacity to 830 sheets. It has a USB port at the front so you can print from or scan/save fax directly to a flash drive; and it comes with Epson’s fleet management tools like Epson Device Admin and Print Admin.

At 24ipm, the WF-C5790 prints fast too. In fact, it prints faster than both the Brother MFC-L3770CDW and HP LaserJet Pro M281fdw in both simplex and duplex modes. For multi-page, duplex copy jobs, while Brother's printer has the advantage of a dual-CIS ADF (i.e., it can scan faster), the Epson WF-C5790 is overall still the fastest because of its fast first-page-out time and negligible warm-up time.

Print quality-wise, the WF-C5790 will also give laser printers a run for their money. While the quoted 3.8-picoliter ink droplet size may seem larger than some inkjet printers, we found both printed documents and photos to look sharp and vibrant, with gradations well handled. The printouts dried quickly too - the only giveaway was that they didn’t have the smooth, powdery feel of laser printouts.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model Brother MFC-L3770CDW Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790 HP Color LaserJet Pro M281fdw
Design 8.0 8.5 8.0
Features 8.5 9.0 8.5
User-Friendliness 8.0 8.0 8.0
Performance 8.5 9.0 8.0
Value 8.0 8.5 7.5
Overall 8.5 9.0 8.0
Price S$578 S$429 S$599

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed in the References section at the end.