Epson Stylus Office B42WD: Off the Boat and Into the Party
Epson Stylus Office B42WD has not been announced officially yet, but it has already fallen into our hands. Well, when Epson is, at last ready to announce its new flagship of office printing, we (and you) will be aware of what this novelty corresponds to.
The burden of uniqueness
Epson B42WD is that very rare case, when we see a really brand new printer, but not an old model with a renewed "make-up" and with a new name. In Epson's family there is no device, which could be called a "relative" of Epson Stylus Office B42WD. "B"-index in its name hints to the models BX320FW, BX525WD and BX625FWD, but with the exception of this index, our hero has nothing in common with the designated models. It is quite possible that in a short time some more new devices will be performed, and we'll see that B42WD is a head of the new family.
Why a head, but not a brother or just a relative? Well, it's difficult to imagine that Epson will produce something similar to B42WD, but with a richer functionality. Taking into consideration its official specifications, we may suppose that Epson B42WD copes with any tasks, including photo printing, though the last is not typical for office printers. An interesting note: we are not sure why, but the universality of the printer is accentuated only in USA variant of its description. And in Europe, where Epson Stylus Office B42WD has already started to scale the market heights, it is positioned so strictly that its description on a European site lacks such features as photo print speed. So, the more was our interest, when we set about the acquaintance.
B42WD goes in a relatively large cardboard box, designed in grey tones. Except a printer itself, we found there a set of original cartridges, a power cable, a CD with drivers and several manuals, concerning to installation and connecting to PC via Wi-Fi. An unassuming package, we must say. There is even no USB-cable, which is thought to be Epson's tradition.
However, let's take a closer look at the device. The entire buzz about its compactness is clearly overraged. Speaking of the dimensions, it is similar to a number of all-in-ones with quite rich feature sets. For example, Epson B42WD is just a little smaller than Epson Stylus Photo TX700W and its "brothers". But because of impressive size it is possible to hide a paper tray into the bottom of the device. As a result, B42WD looks rather neat. By the way, speaking of trays, let's say a couple of words of the one for printings. It is telescopic, and being extended to a full length sticks out the borders of Epson B42WD. It is hidden under a glossy folding cover. Well, let's step to the design of our hero, which really deserves reward.
Epson Stylus Office B42WD is almost all-matt. The only glossy element is this very folding panel, which covers a tray. Even the lid is not glossy. But the whole surface is slightly textured, which is a good way of protection from fingerprints. Yes, our current hero doesn't suffer from fingerprints. At all.
The whole design is rather nice. Though there are no any astonishing revelations, and despite some likeness to the low-budget Epson Stylus SX125, B42WD is not boring, at least; it looks fresh and unobtrusive. (However, our hero clearly has some resemblance to Epson Stylus S22. Yet, it's larger. And the feature set is some richer). Evidently, the design is ruled over with insignificant details. By the way, what about the details? This very lid covers the "machine shop" of Epson B42WD. Under the "hood" of the unit everything is neat and accurate; we haven't noticed any constructional obstacles, impeding a CISS installation. The control panel is placed on the top of Epson B42WD. There is a cut in the lid for cluttered buttons. The buttons themselves have sort of free play, which is not very good. They are not so numerous: a power button, cancel or form feed, cartridge replacing, WiFi and Ethernet On/Off. Just under the buttons on the front panel LED-indicators are placed.
Let's sum up: Epson Stylus Office B42WD looks cool. It is stylish and practical. An extra plus it gets for a matt surface.
But what is hidden under the appearance?
To tell the truth, it has much to hide. We'll start from the less substantial details, and then concentrate on the print system. Epson Stylus Office B42WD is equipped with a module of duplex printing. This will be not superfluous in an office – no matter small or mid-sized.
The choice of interfaces is obscenely rich. You may connect B42WD to PC in the old way – via USB, create a local network and send documents from several computers, or place the printer in a secluded corner and send documents via Wi-Fi.
The heart of any printer is a print system. In this respect Epson B42WD is the right thing. It would seem that combination of Epson Micro Piezo printing head and four separate cartridges with pigment ink DURABrite Ultra is a trivial solution, but… There are several aspects we would like to cover. The first: a printing head contains no less than 768 nozzles. Half of them is untended for a black cartridge (for all that, B42WD is an office printer). Remained nozzles are divided into equal parts between three colour cartridges (128 for each one). The second aspect arises from the first one: the size of the present printing head is only 2 pl. Such characteristics are good enough even for a photo printer! To sum it up, Epson Stylus Office B42WD just must print with the highest quality. In representative office of the manufacturer we were said that this is applied to photos as well. Also they say that the print speed of our hero is rather high – 27 text pages per minute (or 3 photos of 10*15 format). And we are to check all this.
Let's sum it up once again. Epson's claims concerning B42WD seem too perfect to be true, but judging by its specifications, it is capable of anything in a professional aspect. Let's pass to testing, then.
Testing: why not give marks?
As it should be in case with an office printer, the first stage of testing Epson B42WD was text printing. And we were really pleased with the quality: The characters are clean and clear even with small type sizes, and there are no any signs of irregularity or stripes, which are typical for many Epson printing devices. In other words, for the quality of office printing B42WD got "excellent". The print speed was, of course, overrated by Epson, but nevertheless the performance is good. In text mode Epson Stylus Office B42WD gives 15 pages per minute. If there are any diagrams or colour images, the speed is about 7 pages per minute. Considering that the manufacturer's claims are not confirmed, we give the mark "good" to our hero.
To our surprise, Epson Stylus Office B42WD coped with photos in a wink! Their quality doesn't rouse censure, while speed is quite reasonable, though not as good as claimed. In a normal quality mode, printing of one photo of 10x15 format takes less than a minute, in a high quality mode - a minute and a half. Not every photo printer can boast of such speed. For the quality of photos we give "excellent". For print speed - "good".
So, Epson B42WD is a good performer, if not a high achiever. Today is that very rare case, when we are satisfied with the results of our tests.
So, today we reviewed the device, which has not been announced officially yet. When the official ceremony, at last, takes place, we will be aware of its real value. And we must confess that it is worth a lot. This time Epson managed to make a perfect office (actually more than office - universal!) printer. The price of 203 USD with CISS, which one can find in our site is not a waste of money in this case.
Pros and cons of Epson Stylus Office B42WD:
- + High quality of office and photo printing
- + High print speed
- + Decent set of extra features
- - Real print speed rates differ from the claimed ones.