About 2 weeks ago our old family printer, the Epson Workforce 610, started printing smeared pages. I ran the print head cleaner in the menu, and then for a few prints it was fine, but after that it did it again. I then took it to Geek Squad since we had an extended warranty and about a week later they called saying they couldn’t fix it but that we could pick out a similar one. So the agent let us search for one with similar features on their computer, and this one looked interesting, but was out of stock. It turned out more were coming in, so they held one for us.
So here I am with this new Epson WF-3520, it’s a wireless printer all-in-one copier/fax/scanner that works with Mac, Windows, AirPrint and Google Cloud Print which means all the computers in the house are able to print. Even my iPad can print!
Setup was pretty easy and simple. Once unboxed, you just plug it in and load in the ink. It’s the kind of printer where each ink cartridge is separates so you have a separate black, magenta, cyan and yellow cartridge.
Since I heard about them, I prefer a separate ink cartridge for each color because they save on ink. The ones where you have a black cartridge and a color cartridge, if you printed pages with lots of blue (let’s say it’s your favorite color), you’d have lots of red and yellow ink wasted when you replace the color cartridge just because you needed some more blue.
Once I had the ink loaded, I closed it back up and it sat there for like five minutes priming. Then I got to load the paper in it. The pull out tray is barn-door style. It seems to load a lot of paper, maybe even a whole ream, but I haven’t tried that much yet. I think with the amount of paper my family uses, we should be set for a couple of months now.
After that it was time to connect to the Wi-Fi. I used the “Push Button Setup (WPS)” option so I wouldn’t have to type in the long Wi-Fi password on it, as my router supports that. I’m using an AirPort Extreme 802.11n (2nd Generation), which supports WPS if you use the older “AirPort Utility 5.6”, and go to the “Add Wireless Clients.” For some reason Apple removed that option in AirPort Utility 6.0, so I keep an older copy installed alongside the current one.
Once it was on the Wi-Fi network, I could go into the “Print & scan” settings of my Mac and remove the old printer since I won’t be using it anymore, which took like 10 seconds maybe. Next I went in to add the new printer which took maybe 15 seconds. After that was done it printed a test page. Yay! It worked!
Next I tested AirPrint on Apple’s homepage, it was wonderful and magical to print from iOS on my iPad! The output quality seems similar to the old printer, which was wonderful.
I then went upstairs to uninstall the old printer drivers and install the new ones on my grandpa’s laptop running Windows 7 with an i5. The uninstall took about 8 minutes and installing the new one took about 10 minutes. Windows seems a lot slower at doing these sorts of tasks. I was installing from the CD on Windows as that’s the only way I knew. It successfully did a test print then gave the option of checking for firmware updates. It found one and updated it in roughly a minute.
On OS X, if you click “Options & Supplies…”, under where it lists the driver version you should see a button that says “Show Printer Webpage”, then if you click Back to Main, you can see the link to “Firmware Update” in the option list and next to that is the current version. Using that page you can check for an update to the firmware from a web browser on a Mac.
For those who don’t know, Firmware is similar to your operating system but for embedded systems such as a printer, router, TVs, remotes. Some products firmware can be updated, and some are meant to stay the same for the whole product life, which is useful for simple things such as a remote which only requires a small amount of software to function.
So far, everything I played with is working great. A lot of the stuff on this printer works the same as the Workforce 610, so there’s some familiarity with it. It seems like a major improvement, though, over the old one it looks better, has a few more features, and seems a lot faster. Both prints and scans seem way faster compared to my older one.
I am, however, a little disappointed that the Epson 68 ink I got left from the old printer. It won’t work in the new one since it takes 126’s. The ink cartridges look the same as the old ones, but I better not try putting it in as I don’t want to break the printer. I guess they make the ink not the same for every model is so if you stock up on ink since it becomes useless if you buy a different model printer, or in our case when the old one breaks and they don’t have the older model to replace it anymore.
I give the Epson WF-3520 4.85 out of 5 stars. If you’re interested in getting a new printer. Check them out on Amazon and if you buy from one of the above links you’ll be helping out iGeekable!