Printers occupy a lot of space on one's desk and a multi-function printer helps reduce the additional space requirement of a scanner. But MFP’s are also known to be bulkier enough to use up the space on a desk. Compact MFPs and AIOs are now being considered to overcome the space issue. Epson’s ME Office 535 is a superbly built compact multi-functional printer, which is pretty compact by almost 39 percent (claims the manufacturer), when compared to any of its own predecessors. Let’s briefly have a peek at what the Office 535 has to offer.
Design and Build quality
The Office 535 has a rich, matte-finished and curvy-edged shell. The unit has a good build quality, except for the paper trays that are made from flimsy plastic, which can break easily, if not handled with care. The top loading paper input tray has a dust protector, which can be closed when not in use to prevent duct from entering the paper pick-up mechanism. The rear features the power jack and the USB port. The control panel on the front has a swivel mechanism, which can be pulled upwards at a 45 degree angle, if desired. The control panel features the power switch, a five button d-pad for controlling the functions, a start button and a cancel button. The buttons are pretty large, well-spaced and tactile making using the printer very convenient. A 1.4-inch TFT color display is provided for viewing the control panel functions or the photos, while printing from the flash card.
Compact space saver
The Epson ME Office 535 is a compact multi-functional inkjet printer, which can scan, print and copy documents and photos. It sports a maximum print resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi using the 4 pl droplet technology. The four (CMYK) ink tanks used here are Epson INKdividual 141 Inks, which are said to deliver maximum economy with optimum print quality and efficiency. The inks used within these tanks are Epson DURABrite Ultra Ink, which are said to be water, smudge and fade resistant. The ink is an all-purpose pigment ink for everyday printing and has lasting and vibrant colors. The scanner featured here is a flatbed with an optical resolution of 1200 dpi and a bit depth of 48-bit internal and 24-bit external. The scanner has no ADF, which helps reducing the overall height of the printer.
The MFP features a top loading sheet feeder at the rear, which can hold up to 100 A4 sheets or 20 photo sheets. The output tray on the front can hold a maximum 30 sheets and is retractable. The MFP has a USB interface for PC connectivity. The lack of network support, neither Ethernet nor Wi-Fi is a downside of this printer. Another downside is the absence of a duplex mechanism, which could reduce paper wastage. Well, the missing features do help bring down the cost of the overall equipment making it affordable to the masses. Photos can be printed without the need of a PC by using the card slot, which supports a number of flash cards, but is restricted to printing from JPG formats only.
We tested the printer for speed and quality and found the printer to suffice regular needs of a home or very small businesses. The manufacturer claims the printer to spew out a maximum of 30 pages-per-minute, but we acquired just 15 pages-per-minute, when we fired a regular text MS Word document with the setting set to fast economy. Normal printing gave us a maximum of 5 ppm, while best quality documents gave us only one page in a minute (text only). Presentation documents with graphics and text were printed in fast economy mode and gave out just 5 ppm, while normal and best modes spewed out 2 ppm and 1 ppm. We also printed a borderless 4×6 photo and it took us almost five minutes for a single print. Copying documents were just good enough. A single page mono text document took us 21 seconds, while a color magazine page took us 78 seconds in copy mode. Finally, scanning an A4 photograph at 24-bit @ 300 dpi resolution takes around 40 seconds.
From the top
Taking a closer look at the print quality, we found that the printer giving out extremely mild and faded prints in fast economy mode. The text was readable though, but it seems a good option to save on printing costs as it would be meant for draft purposes only. Presentation prints were crisp and clear with no colour smudges. The photos print did disappoint us a bit—the colors were not so vibrant and looked a bit faded, but it was decent enough for casual photocopies. If you want professional photo printing, then this printer is not for you.
Worth a buy?
On a final note, the Epson ME Office 535 is a great choice for those who are looking for a basic, low cost and compact multifunction printer for home or small business. As Epson states, the Office 535 is “Compact, Multifunctional and Highly Economical. It’s the perfect Small-in-One”—we do agree.
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Oct 28, 2016