The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8690 may be the perfect printer option for medium to large-sized offices. It offers a high-volume wide-format all-in-one (AIO) design, perfect for midrange to heavy use. This printer is fast, flexible, and designed to support super high-capacity ink cartridges. If you factor in its general affordability along with the multitude of perks it has to offer, you may find there’s no better choice in high-end wide-format printers.

Size of the WF-C8690:

Before purchasing this printer, be aware that the WF-C8690 measures 22.5 (H) by 24.1 (W) by 34.1 inches (D) with extended trays. It weighs an impressive 101 pounds. This is due, in large part, to the fact that the WF-C8690 supports not only the tabloid-size (11 by 17 inches) wide-format paper; but can also print larger super tabloid-size (13-by-19-inch) pages. In order to accommodate this page size, the machine and it’s paper trays must be large enough. With these things considered, it’ll require a strong stand, or a dedicated countertop to support it. You will also need at least two people to move it into place.

To install the WF-C8690, you’ll need the standard Epson printer and scanner drivers, as well as additional drivers for both HP PCL (Printer Command Language) 5 and PCL 6, as well as Adobe PostScript 3. This brilliant printer mimics both HP PCL and Adobe PostScript page description languages (PDLs), so it’s compatible to use with high-end printing presses and equipment used in publishing and graphic design. While most offices won’t require these PDLs for their daily tasks, installing them ensures that all members of your talent and creative team will have access to whatever application they need.

For example, using the installed PostScript drivers, your marketing and graphic design departments can use the PostScript emulation to print composite documents for proofing. Doing so saves time and lowers the risk of errors before sending the finished documents for final printing at high-volume numbers. Using WF-C8690’s large and easy-to-use control panel, you can configure and monitor the AIO. It also allows you to set up and initiate walk-up tasks, like making copies or scanning to a network drive or cloud site. The panel boasts a 5” color touch screen, as well as status LEDs, a number pad and a few buttons.

You might find that some monitoring and configuration tasks are easier performed in a web portal rather than the control panel. Such tasks might involve viewing reports, managing contacts, and setting security options. That’s why you also have the option to monitor, configure, and basically manage all of your settings and controls from a secure, built-in web server that comes installed within your WF-8690’s memory.  You can connect to it locally or through an Internet browser using an IP address.

Connecting the Printer

You will find that the WF-C8690 supports almost every connection interface available, except Bluetooth. You can choose to connect with the basic Wi-Fi, Ethernet connection, or directly via USB, as well as Wi-Fi Direct and near-field communication (NFC). The latter two let your whole team connect their devices to the printer without either of them being part of your local network. NFC is called a “touch-to-connect” protocol that allows you to print from or scan to your mobile device just by physically touching it to a hotspot on the printer. The hotspot is located just to the left of the touch screen and below the power button.

Through a set of custom mobile apps called “Epson Connect,” you can access additional connectivity options, such as printing emails and attachments, remote printing, and printing to various cloud sites. These apps include Epson Email Print, Epson iPrint Mobile App, and Epson Remote Print. Third-party mobile printing and scanning is also available through Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and Amazon’s Fire OS. If you still need other options, you can always go the old-school way and print from a USB thumb drive attached by a port on the front-left of the frame.

Like other high-volume AIOs, the WF-C8690 is designed for easy access by multiple users. In a busy office setting of 25 or more people, this can be a major benefit, especially given the fact that they all use the same centralized printer for all types of printing, scanning, copying and fax jobs. To help you secure your documents, the WF-C8690 uses personal identification numbers (PINs), sometimes called Secure Print. You can also use the User Access Control lockout feature to deny access to an individual or a group of users. All of these features are designed to keep accessibility open while maximally securing your WF-C8690.

Lightning Speed

Epson’s 24 pages per minute (ppm) rating is, for high-volume machines like this, the speed at which fast printing begins. When tested for speed on various (letter-sized) documents including Microsoft Word, Excel, PDFs and PowerPoints, the WF-C8690 was timed performing at even faster printer speeds. For example, when printing a Word document, the printer came in at an impressive 28.3ppm. The average speed of all document types (even the more complex color documents) comes in at 18.8ppm – historically among the highest speeds for an entire range of test documents.

Print Quality

The WF-C8690 deploys Epson’s unique PrecisionCore printhead technology, which relies on printheads with ink chips filled with many, very-tightly condensed ink nozzles that work with considerably greater accuracy than traditional printheads. According to Epson, this technology results in high-quality printing: greater detail and more vibrant, accurate colors. The WF-C8690 produces almost laser-quality text, which should work perfectly with nearly all internal and external print documents. PrecisionCore machines also do a wonderful job with printing color photos. The only drawback is that the WF-C8690 lacks the ability for printing borderless pages and photos. This is strange considering that most of Epson’s lower-end inkjets still have this ability.

Cost of Ink

When it comes to running costs, you should consider the WF-C8690’s high-performance capabilities and wide-format page printing. Although the per-page cost of the ink required to keep your WF-C8690 printing and copying is comparable to other laser printers in a similar output range, it isn’t the most cost-effective printer on the market today.

However, when you use Epson’s highest-yield ink cartridges (which yield up to 11,500 monochrome pages and 8,000 color prints) each black page should run roughly 1.6 cents, while each color page will cost an estimated 6.7 cents. Lots of wide-format, lower-volume models have nearly double the printing costs and even more. That’s why it’s safe to say, the WF-C8690’s running costs really aren’t bad for what you’re getting.

Performance Features

The only drawback to the WF-C8690 could be its 330-sheet paper capacity. This can obviously be offset with add-on paper trays, but those will come at an extra cost. Like it’s predecessors, this printer boasts impressive features, and is a high-performance, wide-format laser alternative – although, this version lacks the ability for borderless-printing.

The WF-C8690 prints with high enough speed and quality for nearly any project or situation, whether you need it for home office or business use. It supports a wide range of media, so you can produce multiple various types of documents. It’s no wonder the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8690 is widely regarded as one of the best (if not the best) high-end, wide-format AIO printer.