Tue, 07 Jun 2011 Epson C3900DN review
Colour prints came out super-fast and the Epson’s dark palette produced vibrant graphics and good gradients
- Manufacturer: Epson
- Pros: Good performance, whether printing text or colour graphics; strong set of specifications including a fast gigabit ethernet interface; low running costs; suitable for heavy use
- Cons: Slow to print in PDF test; space needed to allow access to input trays
- Min specs: Colour laser printer; max printer resolution 600x600dpi; Gigabit ethernet; stander paper input 250 + 100 sheets; max paper input 850 sheets; paper input 200 sheets; standard memory 256MB; max memory 768MB; processor speed 800MHz; duty cycle 90,000 pages per month; PCL5c, PCL5e, PCL6, PS3; toner prices £103 (black), £148 x 3 (colour); toner life 6,000 pages (black), 6,000 (colour); cost per page 1.7p (mono), 7.4p (colour); 1-year warranty; 419x520x330mm; 22.3kg
- Price: £537 inc VAT
- Star rating:
Epson’s 22.3kg C3900DN isn’t a large printer, but it’ll require plenty of space around it for accessing its side-facing 250-sheet main and 100-sheet multipurpose input trays. With a total input capacity of 850 sheets (including an optional 500-sheet cassette), and a 90,000-page monthly duty cycle, the Epson is geared up for sizeable workloads.
The LCD panel’s large lettering makes it easy to read, if not particularly attractive. It offers plenty of options, and the menu structure is simple to understand. You can print directly from a USB memory stick, and lock down the printer with a password.
There’s a capable 256MB of memory, which can be boosted to a plentiful 768MB. The Epson offers a Gigabit Ethernet connection that’s much faster than the 100Base-TX interface supported by most of its rivals. There’s no upgrade option to add wireless networking, but the Epson does support PCL and PostScript 3 printer languages and can cater to cross-platform networks, including Linux.
It’s one of the fastest printers in the group, and produced text-only pages at 20ppm in our tests. It managed 12.5ppm in duplexing mode, which may not be fast enough to encourage impatient colleagues to use this paper-saving feature. The text quality is generally good, but darker than is typical for a laser printer. The characters aren’t as well-formed as those of some of the printers here. Text is hard to decipher at small font sizes.
The Epson produces colour prints in less time than any of its colour laser competition, averaging 14.3ppm in our tests. It has a dark colour palette but uses it to good effect, producing vibrant graphics in all but a couple of cases. Gradients are handled well, and the overall quality is appealing. The Epson was let down by our PDF test though, taking a long 21 seconds to produce the two-page document.