The features mentioned above would be welcome on any colour inkjet multifunction printer, but there's bad news with the Epson WorkForce WF-2540 printer: Ink costs are high, and glossy photos print at some of the slowest times we've ever seen. Scan speed is nothing to write home about, either. See all budget printer reviews.
Setting up the Epson WorkForce WF-2540 inkjet printer is a breeze. With USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi all on board, you're free to attach it to a PC or network in any location you wish. The WF-2540's smallish non-operational footprint: 392x377x221mm also aids in the versatile placement. However, those numbers (shown in a photo on Epson's Web site), are a tad misleading. When you extend the guide for the 100-sheet rear vertical feed (there is no flat input tray), the height climbs noticeably. With both the guide and control panel in operating position, the depth is more like 17 inches. That's still relatively compact, but not as small as it would be with a bottom-mounted tray.
The Epson WorkForce WF-2540's software bundle is basic, but capable. The Epson Scan program is intuitive and mature, and it will handle any scanning task you throw at it. That would be everything except automatic two-sided scanning, which the WF-2540 does not support. Abbyy FineReader Sprint 9.5 is on hand to take care of OCR chores and there's also the full gamut of Web and local wireless printing options.
Epson WorkForce WF-2540: in use
I didn't find using the Epson WorkForce WF-2540 quite as intuitive as many printers. The 2.5-inch LCD display, buttons, and keypad are fine; there's just something a little off in the implementation. You're forced to hit the OK button at times when the menu/home button would normally function, and there are just enough other little oddities to make the experience less than top-shelf. You'll get used to it, but it could be done better.
Manual duplexing is never intuitive. For the Epson WorkForce WF-2540, onscreen prompts help--for PC users. Unfortunately you'll get no such assistance if you're using a Mac.
I also had some issues replacing the ink cartridges on the Epson WorkForce WF-2540. Perhaps it was my ham-handedness, but several times I received "invalid" cartridge messages. Re-seating (several times) cured this, but the unit can be finicky about the replacement operation. Talk to it nicer than I did, and you might do better with it.
Epson WorkForce WF-2540: print costs
While the Epson WorkForce WF-2540 gets you into an inkjet multifunction for a relatively small initial investment, ongoing costs will hit you hard if you print in any sort of volume. That's a roundabout way of saying that per-page ink costs are very high.
The standard £8.60 175-page black is a whopping 4.9p per page (ppp) and the £7.05/165-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges are 4.27ppp apiece. A 17.3p four-colour page is not a bargain. The 500-page XL black, and 450-page colour cartridges reduce that to around 12p per four-colour page - still well above average.
Performance-wise, the Workforce WF-2540 also proved a disappointment. Normal documents and copies exit quickly enough for home use, but scans are pokey, and the unit is very slow with glossy photos. Monochrome pages output on the PC at 6.7 pages per minute (ppm) and 6.5 ppm on the Mac. Snapshot-sized (4-inch by 6-inch) photos print at almost 4 ppm to plain paper.
Epson WorkForce WF-2540: glossy prints
The problem with glossy prints varies by settings. When using photo paper we normally test in the highest-quality mode, but this slowed the pace of the WF-2540's output drastically. Snapshot photos printed in the mode to glossy paper took over 2 minutes, and full-page photos printed on the Mac an incredible 10 minutes. The full-page photo’s print time improved to approximately 6 minutes by stepping down one grade to High-Quality mode, and to about 3 minutes going down yet one more grade to Quality mode. There was no perceptible loss of fidelity in High-Quality mode compared to Best mode, and only a modest one when we used Quality mode, so stick with those on the WF-2540 unless you're looking to kill time.
On the plus side, though you'll have plenty of time to go to the store for more expensive ink during some of its operations, the WF-2540 produces very nice output. Virtually everything that comes out of it is top-notch. Text is sharp and black, and colour prints are nice. Shadows are a bit dark, and the colours colder than originals, but overall the output sports a classy feel for a four-colour (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) system.