Has Epson produced a laser-beater for offices? The reliance on inkjet rather than laser printing tech here looks like a gamble that’s paid-off. The B-510DN has excellent quality colour printing, making it a rather rare appearance on an office printer that otherwise sticks to the basics – and delivers these abilities in a speedy and good value manner.
There’s a lot to like about the B-510DN, not least its features that large offices will insist upon. A total of 650 sheets of A4 paper can be stored within the B-510DN (150 in a rear tray, which also takes photo paper, and 500 in the lower front tray). This in turn cuts down on maintenance, while a maximum monthly cycle of 20,000 pages ought to go down well at work. An automatic duplexing feature also adds to the efficiency and the eco credentials of the B-510DN, which in itself has a high 5760x440dpi print resolution. Quality, not versatility, is the B-510DN’s brief.
Measuring 480x489x312mm, the hefty B-510DN weighs in at a mighty 10.7kg and isn’t designed to have the sleek requirements of a consumer printer. Far from it, as well as a paper tray that protrudes from the product’s bottom just a little too far, the B-510DN’s ink cartridges are stored in a compartment that also protrudes a little too much.
Missing in action
There are plenty of features that make the B-510DN a real one-of-a-kind, but online antics aren’t one of them. Epson’s 2011 crop of printers allow cloud printing, with smartphone and tablet apps with remote printing via email. The B-510DN’s only online dimension is its ability to be networked via Ethernet LAN. There’s no Wi-Fi, although the B-510DN was instantly accessible on our iMac after being attached to a broadband router – with the necessary software being automatically downloaded, prior to the first print job commencing.
As well as the missing online apps and Wi-Fi – the latter almost expected, especially on a printer of this price – the B-510DN doesn’t have a multimedia card reader or USB slot, a scanner/copier or a touchscreen. Instead of the latter, is a two-line LCD mono screen that is rudimentary and thoroughly old fashioned. We’re surprised to see such convenience features left off the B-510DN, but we’re also aware that many of them will not be welcome in a lot of workplaces, and particularly in the kind of big corporate environments this printer is designed for.
Speed & print quality
The B-510DN is fast. In our tests, after around nine seconds of communication between an iMac and the B-510DN, a four-page mono document took just 17 seconds to produce – a touch over four seconds per page. Text is sharp and well defined, but it’s not a quiet process. The B-510DN will behave fine in a large open plan office, but we wouldn’t want it near a workstation.
A mixed four-page document of text and colour graphics took 01:38, so it’s with high-volume mono that the B-510DN excels in terms of speed, but the quality of colour is not in doubt. A 6×4 photo, was issued in 19 seconds, lacked ultimate detail, but for an office printer it was remarkably good. However, all is not well with duplex printing; despite – and probably because of – its high speed, we experienced several paper jams during our test. Density and drying times can be manually tweaked.
Ink & costs
The B-510DN uses Epson’s DURABrite Ultra inks, and if you stick to the highest yield cartridges there’s an opportunity to create a good value performance. Opting for the 8,000 page-capable extra-high-capacity black (T6181) calculates to a puny cost of just 0.7p per mono page, with full colour costing 2.5p (these figures don’t include paper costs).
Contact: 0871 4237766
- Speed, photo quality,
- Noise, no Wi-Fi, duplex printing
It may lack new features such as remote printing, smartphone integration, even 'basics' like a card reader, copier/scanner or even Wi-Fi – but the networkable B-510DN proves a wise investment in terms of core efficiency. Producing great quality print-outs in both mono and colour in record time, with some tempting price-per-page results making this an excellent, if slightly not old fashioned choice for big offices, despite its high operating noise.