Top critical review
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The printed truth.
on February 22, 2015
** UPDATED March, 29, 2016 **
Review of the Epson workforce 3640:
Price: 129$ (on sale).
The 3640 is a larger two internal paper tray, more menu options version of the 3620 model, uses the same T252 ink cartridges.
Fairly compact size, fast printing, very good photo quality, can use XL and XXL size ink cartridges to save on ink costs, wi-fi and LAN setup was quick and worked with apple and android hardware, Epson software drivers support by older and newer OS's, fax and other com options easy to understand, Scan or copy to SD or USB drive is quick and reliable, 2 internal paper trays supporting upto legal (8.5x14) paper and as small as 3" labels in the back external paper tray, decent touch screen that is resistant to finger prints.
No included usb printer cable, installation & warranty registration manual not very good, ADF instructions very confusing for two sided copying, Starter inkjet cartridges with very little ink included (only 4 8.5x11 photos printed out of the starter cartridges), Confusing paper source & type conflicts (explained below), SD or usb drive reader to comptuer very slow, lastly costly regular size ink cartridges.
Good printer with good output and it's quick.
Paper selection problems: Which are not really a problem just an inconvenience, where you place photo paper in the tray and the printer has those draws set to plain paper , you have to tap YES on the printers touch screen to accept. It will still print to the photo paper in the tray as photo paper so you don't actually have a problem.
If you are looking to buy ink you should go for the XL cartridges. Looking around i found that if you are going to get ink and that all your colours are running low at once that you shop around for kits of epson ink (all 4 colours, CYMK) in one pack, these are generally twenty or so dollars less costly than buying the cartridges individually. Black (K) is the color that is most often used so getting an XL or XXL black cartridge by itself makes sense.
The last surprise Epson has in this printer is the maintenance or waste ink box that has a counter microchip similar to those on the ink cartridges. The WIC or waste ink container has a limited lifespan or profit margin for Epson. Once the waste ink counter reaches it's limit even if the waste ink box is only 1/4 full of actual waste ink the printer shuts down and you can't get it back until you replace the waste ink box with a new one.
The Epson OEM ink is the pigment type and it needs to be cleaned much more often than dye base ink or it will crust up a clog the print heads. Pigment ink has a longer fade resistance than dye based inks, however if prints are to be used daily such as in a catalogue binder then dye based ink is best as it won't scratch like OEM pigment ink and inside a binder dye ink will last as long or longer than pigment based ink.
Lastly or in conclusion: I don't recommend using the epson connect update service. There have been reports of unstable firmware updates that cause unreliable ink level detection that end up costing you a-lot of money.
Adendum: Here are a few tips for generic or aftermarket ink cartridges as i have noticed that some people have problems with them.
A: Sometimes you will get a "not genuine epson ink" on your computer screen even after it has been installed for a while. Ignore the computer screen and just answer YES you are sure to use this ink ++on the printers touch screen++, if you use the cancel or accept on the computer screen pop up message it will mess up your print. If done on the printer itself the print will continue where it left off. When you use the epson prints touch screen to clear the error it sends a signal to the computer that the error is fixed and you avoid printing problems. Also make certain that you properly insert the cartridges into the printer and the microchips on the ink cartridges are clean . Even the original epson cartridges will give "not original" if they don't have proper contact to the print head. In most cases a space the thickness of a sheet of paper is what prevents the ink cartridge chips from contacting the print head.
B: The second message is "unable to recognize ink cartridge" As silly as this sounds this actually also means that the ink cartridge is empty. Yeah i know they could have just said "empty".
C: Don't update your epson printer's firmware.
I use orignal epson ink myself but i run these printers a-lot so i can say that the OEM Epson ink isn't that great unless you are printing a-lot and leaving the printer off for about a day will often clog the print heads.
This is an adendum for just over a year of use. Both of my 3640 printers burnt out the print heads in just over a year and that included about 1300 regular copies and 50 or so 8.5x11 photos. I wouldn't give this a good rating especially for the cost of the ink. Epson won't even answer me on the phone or email, so that's not good. When compared to older epson's or even my canon ip3000 which had exponentially more printouts before it gave out, not to mention much less ink cost. I decided to get a decent colour laser printer and brother inkjet printer and if you know how to properly work just about any graphics program similar to photoshop then it's possible to get as good as inkjet in photo quality.
The new eco tank CIS epson printers (ex epson et-4550) i noticed have the print head communication cables sealed HOWEVER they are insanely over priced.
March 29, 2016. Since i got up this morning i check on this 3640 a half dozen times and i seen prices from 99$ to 211$ in a peroid of about 4 hours. Once it was 141$ free shipping then it was down to 121$+ 41$ shipping, now it's 211$ + free shipping. There is no way prices fluctuate like that. I was going to buy one for the office but they lost my interest with these pricing games. Looks like epson has adopted "the price is right" game show routine of rigging prices.
At the moment Brother is leading the inkjet market as far as printer and ink cost. While not as quick as epson or canon printers, the wifi and other printer features are roughly equal. Even if the Brother tech support isn't all that good, the general oem and generic ink and printer cost makes it much easier to take if it's breaks down. Many of the Brother printers are using Dye based ink so that's a good thing.