by Izzy Goodman

My daughter decided she wanted a top-of-the-line multi-function printer. After checking prices and reading reviews, she chose the Epson Workforce 7610 (Epson list price $249) for $150. A year later, my son bought the Workforce 3640 (the standard size version of the same printer) and several months later, my other daughter bought a 7610. The printers are now a few years old and still chugging along.

This is not designed for a small space. It is bigger than many laser printers and weighs 40 pounds. It can print to 13 x 19 inches and scan to almost that size. It handles many different paper sizes and has a rear feed for heavy paper stock. It can duplex and it can auto-scan using the document feeder and then print to both sides of the page.

It uses the T252 and XL cartridges, which means the black holds over 30ml of ink - about triple the amount of standard cartridges. Epson estimated the yield at 1200 pages but 800 is probably more accurate. Still, that's a good amount for a $4 cartridge. My daughter scanned and printed several textbooks, hundreds of pages of notes and photographs on one black Xl cartridge. The 7610 comes with a set of standard cartridges. I didn't use these for the set up. I put in a set of our compatibles. A message came up saying "These are not Epson cartridges" and I got a sinking feeling that it would only accept their incredibly expensive ones. Then a message popped up warning that use of other cartridges might yield poor results but it was my choice to continue. I chose yes and the printer continued on its merry way. (Several customers have confirmed that this printer accepts our regular and refillable cartridges right out of the box. One customer had to first use the genuine Epson black cartridge which came with the printer before it would accept our black refillable.)

Setting up the printer with the included CD took about 15 minutes - mostly waiting for files to be installed. Other than that, everything went smoothly. The printer was found on the network and the first computer was now able to print. It then began downloading a firmware upgrade. I canceled it immediately. The only thing a firmware upgrade does is prevent third party cartridges from working. Though in a few years, no one has reported a set of our cartridges not being accepted, even after running firmware upgrades.

Setting up the second computer again took about 15 minutes. This time because the printer was already on the network, it did not try to load the upgrade. We put the printer through its paces and my daughter was delighted to discover fast print speed, nice output and the ability to print from her phone and kindle. The printer can also be assigned an email ID. When you send email to that ID - even a file attachment - it automatically gets printed.

We have put the printer through its paces, scanning documents to flash drives and other computers on the network and printing photos in various sizes. Photos print quickly and brilliantly (though slightly less perfect than the same ones printer on a Canon MX922). This is an incredible printer at a very reasonable price and has garnered hundreds of positive reviews including the Editor's Choice from Computer Shopper.

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