Despite near-ubiquitous mobility among business professionals, there are still aspects of the professional world that are still stationary - like printers. Epson decided, by their own words, to expand the portfolio of business printing solutions by creating the Epson WorkForce WF-100 ($349, £229.14, AU$449.25), the world's lightest and smallest mobile printer.
Epson designed the WorkForce WF-100 printer with the professional in mind, as the WorkForce WF-100 comes with built-in wireless connectivity, WiFi Direct, and an integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery that allows you to print at anytime and anywhere. The WorkForce WF-100 provides the ease and mobility of a fully functional printer without requiring a USB cable.
The WorkForce WF-100 weighs 3.5lbs (1.59 Kg) and the dimensions are 12.2" x 9.1" x 8.5" (30.99 cm x 23.11 cm x 21.59 cm) in the printing state and 12.2" x 6.1" x 2.4" (30.99 cm x 15.49 cm x 6.1 cm) in its storage setting. Built into this compact size is a Micro-USB (for charging and direct input into the computer) and an AC port. Charging on this device is simple, the AC Adapter provides 100-240V whereas the USB adapter provides 5V (based on USB 2.0).
Charging times vary between the two inputs, and more so with USB, but to fully charge the Epson WorkForce WF-100 over AC takes 2.5 hours, on a USB connection with 0.5A takes 10 hours, and on an USB connection with 1.5A takes 2.5 hours. On a single charge the battery life lasts for approximately 100 B&W pages or 50 Color pages.
The Epson WorkForce WF-100 printer uses a 4-color (CMYK) drop-on demand MicroPlezo inkjet technology. Printing speeds vary depending on the use of color or if the WorkForce WF-100 is plugged in or using the battery. When using the AC Adapter, the WF-100 can print B&W at 6.7 ISO ppm and Color at 3.8 ISO ppm. When using battery power, the WF-100 is only able to print B&W at 3.5 ISO ppm and Color at 2.0 ISO ppm.
Since the WF-100 is geared towards the working professional, it can only handle more traditional printing sizes ranging from 8.5" x 14" to No. 10 envelope plain paper. So, if you're looking for bigger size or more paper to hold, then this printer might not be the one for you.
Setting this printer up via USB is traditionally simple and straightforward. Setting up the WorkForce WF-100 printer up via WiFi is similarly simple with a few very minor drawbacks. To connect the printer to an existing WiFi access point - say your home router - the WF-100 will scan existing WiFi access points.
The navigation is simple and seamless until you have to put in the WiFi password. Now, for those who have auto-generated WiFi passwords from your Internet Service Providers or those (like myself) who have challenging passphrases for security, scrolling through A-Z a-z 1-0 !-= options is monotonous and annoying. When you do select the correct keys to connect the Epson WorkForce WF-100, it presents you the passcode in plain text.
Once this is done, the Epson WorkForce WF-100 will remember the SSID and Password of the WiFi but if you change WiFi modes (switch from WiFi to WiFi Direct) then you will have to go through this process again. Setting up WiFi direct is fairly easier as the SSID is autogenerated, but creating the password is, again, done by autoscrolling with the D-PAD function. And, again, once it's set up you connect your computer to the WorkForce WF-100 AP (directions on LCD) and it is really simple.
When the Epson WorkForce WF-100 is connected to your WiFi network, setting the printer up on your computer or mobile device is easy. AirPrint and Google Print are straight forward, as the apps will automatically detect the device. Mac OS X and Windows-based computers have an installer, which only takes a minute or two to do, and they automatically connect.
Printing to this printer with basic print jobs, text, resumes, articles on the web, are very easy. Hit print, choose the Epson WorkForce WF-100 option and that's it. Printing color is just as easy, though it does slow the print job up quite noticeably. While this is a mobile printer and is not inherently designed for printing color jobs, or photos, it does it quite well.
Walk away from the Epson WorkForce WF-100? Well, the WF-100 has an auto-sleep function. You can continue your work, deck, business report and hit print and the WorkForce WF-100 will come alive and print directly.