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Epson Takes On HP: Inkjet Is The New Laser Printer For Business

By Matthew Lentini | Wednesday | 12/10/2011

Epson is pushing to take a slice of HP's pie in the small business printing market with a new range of inkjet printers that shoot out pages faster and at half the cost of comparable laser printers.

Laser printers have long been synonymous with the corporate world for high-volume, efficiency-driven printing. Inkjet, on the other hand, are typically dynamic but simple printers for printing pictures in the home.

Epson is looking to flip the paradigm in its upcoming marketing campaign for its new series of Workforce Pro models that cut per-page costs around 50 percent compared to its laser rivals. An upcoming marketing campaign is focusing on the high volume at low cost efficiency of the new units.

The Workforce Pro 4540 (RRP $449) and the lower-level 4530 (RRP $379) are currently shipping to retailers like OfficeWorks and Harvey Norman as well as integrators in the business channel.

New entry-level home office models in the Workforce series are set for a November release, extending multifunction print capabilities up to A3 sizes. Coming later in February 2012 are two more Workforce Pro models with PCL connectivity, selling through the business channel and with integrators specifically.

The 4540 and its little brother 4530 were pitted against recent HP printers including a laser model and an Officejet inkjet model, pushing out prints at around half the time of both models. Most of this speed came from the initial warm-up time of the HP models though, rather than any particularly speedy printing on the Epson side.

More impressive was the energy efficiency, where standby wattage sat at around 6 watts compared to the HP laser printer's 16 watts, pushing up to around 30 watts during printing compared to the competition's 300+ watts.

Cartidges are expensive, so Epson has made extra large cartidges that push up to 2400 black prints and 1200 colour pages to cut down long-term printing costs per page.

Epson is boasting a 20,000 page oer month duty cycle on these new models, bettering its rivals 15,000 page cycles. The warranty is the obligatory one year, though early buyers are offered an on-site warranty for the year rather than a return warranty.

Pushing the business-centric agenda, the 4540 and 4530 can house up to 580 pages over two trays and a fold-out tray up top. These pages print out at up to 53 percent faster than the compared laser models in duplex mode and 15 percent faster during single-side printing.

Connectivity is ramped up with the full host of faxing, copying and scanning options as well as the whole gamut of connections including Wi-Fi, USB and email printing.

Through Epson Connect, users can print direct from an app on an iPad or Android device. The full app upgrade is set for October 26 to make Android fully compatible with the printers.

While Epson has pushed its products a little tongue-in-cheek up against HP's behind closed doors, its marketing campaign slated for the end of this month in print and online is set to boast its own printers' values rather than sledging the competition.

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