Epson WorkForce WF-7520
“The Epson WF-7520 is a big printer, but for its low price, very good print quality, speed and all the features you get – including wide format printing – it’s a great buy for the money.”
Wide format up to 13 x 19
Fast, very good print quality
Double-sided printing and ADF
High performance ink cartridges
Big and heavy
The output was more saturated on certain papers
Sometimes letter and legal size papers just aren’t big enough. Whether for work or even at home, it is often useful to have an inkjet printer that can print on 11 x 17 inch paper. A wide-format printer lets you print large, easier-to-view spreadsheets, wall-sized photos, and booklets.
The Epson WorkForce WF-7520 is one such device that can print documents as small as 13 x 19 inches, but it takes things to the next level. The WF-7520 is also an All-in-One (AIO) multifunction printer (MFP) that offers print, copy, scan and fax functions. It’s a business-focused device, but we can see it benefiting home users as well, given that it’s only $300.
But the WF-7520’s ability for large documents doesn’t stop there. Both the flatbed and automatic document feeder (ADF) can scan up to 11 x 17, which is useful for scanning across both pages of an open magazine, for example. Let’s take a closer look at this wide format jack of all trades.
Features and design
Wide-format printers tend toward the larger side, and since the WF-7520 is an MFP, it’s even larger. At 22 x 27.2 x 18.1 inches in print mode (with the paper support extended), this won’t fit on your desk, at least not if you want something else next to it. And weighing 41 pounds, make sure you have the strength to lift it.
Size aside, the WF-7520 is pretty conventional. Many of the Epson AIOs we’ve tested recently have tilt-adjustable control panels, and the WF-7520 follows the same design scheme. A small color LCD display shows menu selections, although it is not a touch screen. Selection is made using the four-way arrow keys next to the screen with an “OK” key in the middle of the direction arrows. Separate sections of the control panel are used to select different functions. The WF-7520 can print photos and documents directly from SD, Compact Flash or Memory Stick flash memory. There is a front USB port, but it is there for use with the digital camera’s PictBridge direct print feature. Automatic two-sided printing is enabled for printing, scanning and faxing, and the ADF holds up to 30 pages. Automatic two-sided printing for scanning or copying is only available with the ADF on letter-size paper, although the ADF will accept up to 11 x 17 documents when scanning only one side.
The WF-7520 has excellent connectivity options. We usually test printers and MFPs using a USB cable to avoid slow network or wireless traffic affecting our speed tests. The WF-7520 supports USB, Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi connections. If you sign up for a free Epson ConnecT account, you get the ability to print from anywhere and scan to the cloud. The WF-7520 also supports Apple AirPrint and Google CloudPrint.
if you have a need for large format printing or scanning and have the space for it, it’s a great buy for the money.
Paper handling is another thing we like about the WF-7520. Although the all-in-one doesn’t offer you the CD-printing feature found on some Epson models, there are two paper trays, each of which can hold half a stack (250 sheets) of letter or legal size paper. These cassettes can also handle paper as small as 3.5 x 5 inches (usually photo paper) and as large as 13 x 19 inches. The WF-7520 can print on most Epson specialty papers, including iron-on paper and adhesive sheets. However, Epson does not list its canvas paper as one of the supported papers.
While the WF-7520 is capable of excellent print quality, it doesn’t bill itself as a photo printer. Epson photo printers generally use more than the four standard colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) that all inkjet printers, including the WF-7520, are equipped with. Epson uses the term “High-capacity” in describing all WF-7520 cartridges. The high-capacity black cartridges are designed for about 385 pages, while the high-capacity color cartridges are designed for about 470 pages each.
And where most vendors use XL or extra-large in their higher capacity cartridges, Epson uses “Extra High-capacity”. The black cartridge in this “Extra” size is expected to produce around 845 pages, while the color cartridges are estimated at around 775 pages. These are excellent results, especially since the extra high performance black cartridge costs just under $30 from Epson’s own online store, while the color cartridge is around $21 each.
What’s in the box
The WF-7520 is a large device, and at 42 pounds it’s also heavy, so it would be nice to have someone help you unpack it. Our review unit came with a power cord, phone cord (for fax), and a setup poster and quick start manual.
The included CD contains printer and scanner drivers. The WF-7520 supports various versions of Windows and Mac OS X 10.4.11 to 10.8.x. Scanning capabilities are provided by a generic Epson scanning utility and a TWAIN driver that allows scanning to be performed through any application that supports it, such as Photoshop. Along with scanning utilities, Epson also includes a copy of ABBYY FineReader OCR software.
Performance and use
Setting up the WF-7520 is easy – the hardest part is lifting the beast. A large setup poster guides you through the process of getting the MFP up and running. After removing all the packing tape, the printer is turned on and the ink cartridges are installed. Before anything else could be done, the ink needed to be prepared for the printing part of the MFP, which took almost 10 minutes. Then the software installation can begin.
After inserting the CD into the computer, the installer first goes to the web to see if the drivers are up-to-date (in our case they are), and if so, downloads new ones. It lasted almost 15 minutes. All in all the setup took about half an hour, but most of that time was just watching the installation progress. When we were done, we were ready to start testing.
Overall, we were very impressed with the WF-7520’s performance. The printer driver offers selections for different types of paper. Except for “Plain”, all of these choices were for Epson papers. The driver also offers five settings for speed versus quality: Fast Economy (which is essentially draft mode), Economy, Normal, Fine, and Quality. For our speed tests, we used the Normal and Fast Economy settings. In all of our image quality tests, we used the Quality setting and the correct paper settings.
Epson rates the WF-7520 at 8 pages per minute (ppm) in color in normal mode. We achieved 12 ppm at this setting. On the Fast Economy setting, the WF-7520 passed the test at about 25 pages per minute, although print quality dropped significantly. As fast as this setup is, we probably wouldn’t use it for anything we’d want someone else to see.
Considering the Epson WF-7520 doesn’t advertise itself as a photo printer, it prints great photos.
Image quality and color accuracy produced some surprising results. We performed this test on Epson’s Premium Presentation Matte paper, which Epson recommends for best printing, Epson’s Premium Photo Paper Glossy, and Hammermill’s Premium Inkjet and Laser paper, which we use for comparison. Color accuracy was good for all three test images on all papers used for testing.
What differed from one type of paper to another was color saturation, that is, how vivid or dull the colors were. Epson’s Premium Presentation Matte suffered from noticeable undersaturation, with accurate but dull colors. In our tests of other Epson printers, this paper has usually produced great results. The Hammermill paper was slightly better in terms of color saturation, but the best result was Epson’s Premium Photo Paper Glossy. The colors were accurate and bright. Considering the Epson WF-7520 doesn’t advertise itself as a photo printer, it prints great photos. That said, we wouldn’t hold back on printing a mixed text and graphics report on the WF-7520 using Epson Matte or Hammermill papers; the print quality on these papers is good for most purposes.
We also tested the copy and scan functions. Copying, as with almost every inkjet printer we’ve tested, is quite an exercise in patience. We can’t fault the WF-7520 for that, and we liked the automatic two-sided printing feature. Scanning is enabled using Epson’s own scanning utility. It’s not very fancy, but it allows you to specify the scan resolution and choose to scan to a computer, to an email or to a memory card, the latter of which can be done without connecting to a computer. We also had no problems scanning into Google’s Picasa 3 image software, using the app’s Import function. Scan quality was excellent, and the 11-by-17-inch scan tray accommodates oversized documents or double-sided books and magazines.
The Epson WF-7520 is large. He is big physically and has great capabilities. Print quality is generally very good and it’s fast. It’s priced at a reasonable $300, and if you need to print or scan large format and have the space for it, it’s a great buy for the money. Although it is aimed at small business users, home users will find it just as useful.
- Wide format up to 13 x 19 Fast, very good print quality Double-sided printing and ADF High performance ink cartridges
- Big and heavy The output was more saturated on certain papers