Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4830 Wireless All-in-One Printer Review
Replacing our 2017 Best of the Year WorkForce Pro WF-4740, Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-4830 Wireless All-in-One Printer ($199.99) is a midrange multifunction (print, copy, scan, and fax) printer aimed primarily at small offices. This year’s model comes with similar paper capacity, volume ratings, and features as its predecessor — and boasts a $100 price reduction. Its large, auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) and two 250-sheet paper trays make it well worth its modest price if you’re printing and scanning every day. Overall, the WF-4830 is a fast, feature-rich, business-ready AIO that gives great value for its purchase price.
Tall and Powerful
The WF-4830 is the middle model in a recent five-machine WorkForce Pro refresh. The WF-3820 and WF-4820 are less expensive and less robust; the WF-7820 and WF-7840 are wide-format machines (printing pages up to 13 by 19 inches) that are otherwise similar to the WF-4800s. Assuming you don’t need poster printing, the WF-4830 is the obvious choice for most offices with moderate printing needs, as it delivers much more value than the WF-4820 and WF-3820. (I’ll talk more about how these machines differ in the sections below that cover relevant productivity and convenience features.)
The WF-4830 measures 13 by 16.7 by 19.8 inches (HWD) and weighs 26.2 pounds. That makes it about two inches taller and 3.3 pounds heftier than the WF-4820. It’s about the same size and girth as the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025. The most similar printer that Canon offers is the smaller and lighter (and not nearly as capable) Pixma TR8620.
A much more expensive Epson AIO, the EcoTank Pro ET-5850 (also on our 2017 Best of the Year list), has a notably larger footprint and weighs almost 20 pounds more than the WF-4830 unit. And Brother’s MFC-J6945DW (on the 2019 Best of the Year list) is bulkier and heavier still, mostly to accommodate tabloid-size printing. I’m including comparison machines that cost up twice as much as the WF-4830 because I couldn’t find recent AIOs in the $200 price range that come with two paper trays, a feature that really makes the WF-4830 stand out in its class.
Another perk of the WF-4830 is a 50-sheet auto-duplexing ADF that automatically scans both sides of two-sided multipage documents. Manual-duplexing feeders, such as the one on the WF-4820, can’t capture both sides of two-sided documents without a human standing by to flip the stack. If you’re regularly scanning two-sided documents that are more than a couple of pages long, auto-duplexing makes a big difference in convenience and saved time.
Of the other AIOs mentioned here so far, only the Pixma TR8620’s 20-sheet ADF is manual-duplexing. The two OfficeJet Pro machines come with 35-sheet feeders, and the ET-5850 and MFC-J6945DW both have 50-sheet ADFs.
The WF-4830’s paper input capacity is 500 sheets split between two 250-sheet cassettes. That’s 250 sheets more than its closely priced sibling, the WF-4820, and comparable to the higher-end ET-5850, which adds a 50-sheet multipurpose tray that pulls up and out from the back of the machine.
The OfficeJet Pro 9025’s paper capacity is the same as the WF-4830’s, while the Premier comes with only one 250-sheet cassette. Brother’s MFC-J6945DW boasts two 250-sheet cassettes and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray, making it the most versatile of this group. The Canon TR8620’s meager 200-sheet capacity is the least robust.
The WF-4830’s maximum monthly duty cycle is 33,000 pages, and its suggested monthly volume is 1,600 prints. At that rate, you’ll refill the paper trays three to four times a month. Those numbers are comparable to the OfficeJet Pro 9025 and MFC-J6945DW, which are rated at 30,000 pages maximum and 2,000 prints suggested, and the OfficeJet Premier, rated for 25,000 pages maximum and 1,500 prints suggested. Canon doesn’t share volume rates for its consumer-grade printers. If your printing volume is considerably higher, the ET-5850 can handle double the WF-4830’s workload.
Aside from Home and Help buttons residing on either side of the screen, the WF-4830’s spacious 4.3-inch color touch-screen control panel controls all its functions. You can set up and execute copy jobs, scan to local drives or cloud sites, monitor ink levels, configure security parameters, generate usage reports, and a lot more. You can also use the WF-4830’s built-in web portal from any web browser, including the one on your smartphone or tablet.
The WorkForce Pro AIOs all ship with the same standard interfaces: Ethernet and Wi-Fi for networking, and USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth LE for direct connections. There’s a USB port in a covered compartment to the left of the control panel that lets you print from or scan to USB thumb drives.
Android Print, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria make it easy to connect to the WF-4830 from your mobile device. Epson throws in its Epson Connect suite of utilities: Epson iPrint, Epson Creative Print, and Epson Smart Panel (all compatible with iOS and Android); Epson Email Print; Epson Remote Print; and Scan to Cloud. You also get TWAIN drivers for scanning directly into desktop apps.
For faxing and scanning, you get Epson Fax Utility and Epson’s two outstanding scanner interfaces, Scan 2 and ScanSmart, as well as a newcomer to the bundle, the Smart Panel App. Scan 2 has three modes — Home, Office, and Professional — that provide access to features according to expertise levels. ScanSmart is a modular scanner interface that supports plugins, such as Epson’s ScanSmart Accounting Edition for gleaning data from receipts, invoices, and other financial documents and converting it for use in bookkeeping programs. ScanSmart also integrates well with document management applications, including Epson’s Document Capture Pro.
The newcomer, Smart Panel App, is a remote control panel that runs on your smartphone or tablet. It only works with the latest generation of WorkForce Pro AIOs. I installed it on my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone and fooled around with it for a while, but the jury is still out as to how necessary it is. I suspect it’s mostly a response to HP’s Smart App, which is touted as a universal interface that allows you to configure and manage all HP printers and scanners across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS platforms.
One Quick Inkjet
Like the WF-4820, the WF-4830 is rated at 25 monochrome pages per minute (ppm). During my tests, it performed slightly faster than its rating and its WF-4820 sibling. I put it through its paces over an Ethernet connection to our Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Pro. On the first part of the benchmark regimen, I timed it as it printed several copies of our standard 12-page Microsoft Word text file and came up with an average score of 27.5ppm, or 1.1ppm faster than its WF-4820 sibling and 1.2ppm slower than the ET-5850.
The OfficeJet Pro 9025 beat the WF-4830 by 2.2ppm and the speedy OfficeJet Pro Premier came in ahead of the WF-4830 by 10.1ppm. But the WorkForce Pro turned around and trounced the Brother MFC-J6945DW by 9.2ppm. The Canon Pixma TR8620, at 13.7ppm slower than the WF-4830, ate everybody’s dust.
The next part of the testing routine entails printing our collection of colorful and complex Excel spreadsheets with accompanying charts and graphs, PowerPoint handouts containing intricate graphics and fonts of varying sizes and colors, and graphics-laden Adobe Acrobat files. I then combined these scores with the results from printing the text document above and came up with 12ppm, a negligible 0.4ppm faster than the WF-4820.
The other Epson, the ET-5850, beat this one by 6.3ppm. The Brother MFC-J6945DW and the two OfficeJets, the Premier and 9025, had speeds almost identical to the WF-4830’s. The Pixma TR8620 managed a paltry 4.7ppm.
To finish up, I clocked the WF-4830 as it churned out several instances of two brilliant and detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots in an average time of about 13 seconds, 1 second slower than the WF-4820 and near average for this group of inkjets.
Superior Text and Image Printing
Epson’s WorkForce Pro AIOs are built around PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology printheads that utilize ink chips with small, dense, and tightly clustered nozzles that produce some of the best detail and color accuracy in the business-oriented printer space. Granted, nearly all inkjet printers churn out good-looking output these days, but the WorkForce Pro family is clearly one of the best for detail and color accuracy that stand up to close scrutiny.
The WF-4830 printed our common serif and sans-serif sample font pages with crisp, well-shaped, and highly legible characters down to what I could make out without magnification, or about 6 points. The several not-so-common decorative, headline, and theme fonts we test looked good, too. And the colorful and complex business graphics, charts, graphs, and embedded photographs I printed were more than attractive enough for both internal and external business use.
However, it did struggle with a few PowerPoint handouts that contain gradients from light to dark black and from green to black. In some of them, instead of flowing evenly from one color to the next, the gradient stepped, banding perceptibly from shade to shade. The result wasn’t awful, but it was obviously not the intended effect.
The photo prints from the WF-4830 were not quite as vibrant as you’d get from an Epson or Canon consumer-grade photo printer (the Editors’ Choice–winning Epson XP-7100 comes to mind), but its photo output is good enough for most business applications and even for family photos.
Expensive Per-Page Output
Without some kind of discounted-ink incentive, consumer-grade printers like this one, especially if you push them close to their suggested maximum volume, cost a lot to use. When you buy Epson’s so-called high-yield ink cartridges for this printer, monochrome pages will cost you about 3.6 cents each and color prints will run around 11.7 cents each. The more you print, the more you’ll care about running costs that are 1 or 2 cents higher per page than those of comparable printers.
For example, let’s say that you print 1,600 pages each month (the WF-4830’s suggested maximum volume) on a machine with a 1-cent monochrome page cost. Printing 1,600 pages will save you $41 each month, $499 each year, and $2,496 over the expected five-year lifespan of the printer.
I’m comparing this printer to more expensive ones in part because their lower running costs lead to a comparable lifetime cost. The ET-5850 Pro, a bulk-ink EcoTank machine that lists for $900, delivers running costs of 2 cents for both monochrome and color prints. (Note that most of the other EcoTank models, the ones without the “EcoTank Pro” in their names, cost even less to use: 0.3 cent per black page and 0.9 cent for color.) Obviously, you have to print and copy a lot to save enough to make up the difference in purchase price, but when you factor in Epson’s current offer of free ink for the first two years you own the ET-5850, the lifetime value math is worth doing.
Both the OfficeJets discussed here are eligible for HP’s Instant Ink subscription program, for which the printers monitor ink levels and order more as needed. Subscribing to the $19.99 option gives you your first 700 prints each month for 2.9 cents each and charges $1 for every subsequent 20 pages. If this doesn’t sound like an impressive value, keep in mind that we’re talking 2.9 cents for every page, even letter-size borderless photos with 100 percent coverage — a fantastic boon if you print a lot of color documents and photos. I should also point out HP is currently offering two free years of its 300-page, $9.99-per-month subscription for Premier owners. Brother’s MFC-J5945DW, an INKvestment Tank model, delivers running costs of 0.9 cent per monochrome page and 4.7 cents for color, which isn’t bad either.
Finally, Canon’s Pixma TR8620, which doesn’t offer a bulk-ink incentive, prints monochrome pages for a painful 7 cents and color for 11.7 cents each. However, the Canon Pixma G4210, a bulk-ink AIO, will run you just 0.3 cent for monochrome and 0.9 cent for color.
A Solid and Durable Low-Volume Solution
The WF-4830 is loaded with productivity and convenience features designed to save time and maximize efficiency. It sports valuable improvements over the WF-4820. It’s difficult to find a machine with two big paper drawers and a 50-sheet auto-duplexing ADF for under $200. However, this AIO costs more to use than several others in its class, making it less of a value if your print and copy load is more than a few hundred pages each month. If your output volume is modest or you don’t mind paying a premium for ink, this sturdy machine will serve you well for several years.