Epson XP-640 All-in-One 

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Adding to its extensive range of printing devices, Epson has developed the XP-640.

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Unlike the previous Epson All-in-One unit that I looked at, the Epson XP-640 is based on the company’s ink cartridge technology using Micro Piezo™ print head technology rather than its innovative Eco Tank range of products.  The Epson XP-640 is being targeted at home users looking to product high-quality photos and text documents with a device capable of delivering scan, print and copy functionality as its main remit.

With dimensions of 390 x 339 x 141mm (W x D x H), this box-shaped unit with bevelled corners manages to look both appealing and reasonably compact with the usual standard arrangement of a flatbed A4 scanner perched on top of an inkjet printer.  The XP-640 offers a choice of WiFi or USB connectivity plus mobile printing options.  The XP-640 is a five cartridge printer covering magenta, yellow, cyan and a double photo black cartridge plus pigment black for use with text.  Both the power socket and USB connection option are tucked away, out of sight, at the rear of the unit.

Positioned on the front panel of the unit are two input paper trays, a paper output tray and a control panel which can be adjusted to various angles for the optimum viewing position.  The lower paper tray is primarily for A4 paper, whether of the plain or photo type, while the top tray, of the two, can be used for different sizes of photographic paper.  The paper input trays have a capacity of 100 sheets of copy paper and 20 photo sheets.

There is also an insert, concealed on the base of the lower tray, enabling you to print on suitable CD/DVD media when the need arises.  If, as I sometimes do, you forget to manually pull out the paper output tray then a reminder will be given when instigating a print job with this task not been carried out, in order to avoid any possible problem that might be caused by a paper jam.  Also on the front of the XP-640 is a memory card slot with support for the SDXC, SDHC and SD families of cards plus a USB port for attaching a flash stick containing photos to be printed.

Positioned just above the various paper trays is the unit’s adjustable control panel.  This panel’s angle can be adjusted to suit any occasion.  The control panel is built around a 6.8cm colour LCD screen that provides menu options and status feedback.  Arranged along the sides of the LCD screen are touch sensitive buttons for carrying out specific tasks such as Stop and Print plus navigation options.

Setting up this All-in-One can be helped by inserting the supplied CD into the computer’s optical drive.  Software will then lead you through illustrated steps regarding setting up the XP-640.  You can select your country and region plus insert the five cartridges into the belly of the printer.  Various print alignment tests can be carried out to check out print quality. 

A check will be made regarding an Internet connection before you are given the choice of USB or WiFi connection with the latter supporting WPS for an automatic link up.  Various software applications will be installed and a further check made regarding any firmware update.  Unlike some devices, a firmware update can be carried out via WiFi without the need for a USB connection.

The flatbed A4 scanner perched on top of the XP-640 is of the CIS (Contact Image Sensor) type.  It has a scanning resolution of 1,200 x 2,400 dpi (H x V).  The scanner can operate as your main scanning function in cooperation with a computer or part of a photocopy process by sending its captured images direct to the printer.  In this latter mode, the XP-640 can produce an A4 monochrome photocopy in eight seconds with an A4 colour image requiring 10 seconds when using the standard print quality.

There are three main print modes classified as Draft, Standard and High.  Using my usual print test mono and colour documents of 101 words with the coloured version containing a small image, I achieved the print speeds as displayed in the following table.

Epson XP-640
Print QualityMonochromeColour
Draft 33 28
Standard 16 13
High 5 4

While Draft is only really suitable for checking layout issues, the other two print qualities could suffice for other jobs.  Using the printer’s Duplex feature, I was able to print a 12 page document, consisting of 6700 words, on six pages in 127 seconds.  Printing a full colour 10 x 15cm photograph took 30 seconds while an A4 photograph was printed in 71 seconds with both being delivered in good quality.

Epson has priced the XP-640 at £119.99.  Replacement cartridges are priced at £8.99 for the various colours with black costing £11.99.  The XP-640 would be a suitable addition to a family’s home computer set up.

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