Epson Workforce 310
At a Glance
Epson's Workforce 310 color inkjet multifunction printer gives small offices a cheap ($130 at this writing), fast, adequately configured machine. We blanched at its ink prices, though.
The Workforce 310 performed well in our speed tests. It printed plain text at a swift 18 pages per minute. Copy and scan speeds were also fast. Graphics samples printed at a more pedestrian 2.9 ppm. (Epson's maximum speed claim of 36 ppm for text and 20 ppm for graphics ignores the processing time that precedes every print job.) Print quality was almost as good as performance. On plain paper, text samples were reasonably black, but a little fuzzy, while graphics looked grainy and sometimes yellowish. On Epson's own photo paper, textures improved, but we noticed an overall pinkish cast and some dullness to the colors.
The Workforce 310's feature set is adequate for a light-duty office. USB and ethernet connectivity are standard. The control panel is a little crowded but logically laid out and well labeled. The two-line, 16-character monochrome LCD shows scrolling instructions that force you to stop and watch--not good when you're on deadline. The 30-sheet automatic document feeder, 100-sheet input tray, and 50-sheet output tray are composed largely of rickety plastic. Duplexing is manual only.
Epson's documentation could be more helpful. The full User's Guide is available online only, and downloadable only in small sections. It contains a decent amount of how-to instruction, but basics like a diagram of the control panel are nowhere to be found.
Unfortunately for any small office, the ink costs are high. The standard-size, 245-page black cartridge costs $17 or a whopping 6.9 cents per page, while each 340-page color cartridge costs $12.34, or 3.6 cents per page. A page with all four colors would cost 17.8 cents. The high-yield versions include a 410-page black cartridge, which costs $20, or a reasonable 4.9 cents per page. Each 525-page color cartridge costs $17, or 3.2 cents per page. A page with all four colors would cost a pricey 14.6 cents.
Epson's Workforce 310 offers a useful list of features for a low initial price, and it's fast to boot. The small businesses whom it targets will suffer later over the high ink costs, however, and that dampens our enthusiasm for the product. We like Canon's Pixma MX330 a little better, despite a similar level of tradeoffs; but HP's $200 Officejet 6500 Wireless is even better (and available in a $150 version without Wi-Fi).
For more choices, see our Top 10 Inkjet Multifunction Printers.
--Melissa Riofrio and Susan Silvius