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10 Compelling Reasons to Avoid the Epson WF-3640 Printer in 2023

As a veteran digital technology consultant, I‘ve helped countless clients navigate the complex world of printers and find the right model for their needs. And one piece of advice I find myself giving more often than not is to steer clear of the Epson WorkForce WF-3640.

This all-in-one inkjet may have been a popular choice when it launched nearly a decade ago, but by today‘s standards, it falls woefully short on almost every front. From subpar performance to frustrating usability issues to costly upkeep, the WF-3640 is a prime example of a printer that hasn‘t aged gracefully.

To help you make a more informed buying decision, I‘ve put together a detailed breakdown of the top 10 reasons to avoid the WF-3640 in 2023. Drawing on extensive hands-on experience, industry data, and aggregated user feedback, this list paints a clear picture of why this Epson model is more trouble than it‘s worth.

1. Unacceptably Slow Print Speeds

Let‘s start with the most glaring issue: the WF-3640 is painfully slow. Epson advertises maximum print speeds of 19 ISO ppm (pages per minute) in black and 10 ISO ppm in color. But in real-world use, you can expect far lower throughput.

In PC Magazine‘s tests, the WF-3640 only managed 5.4 ppm when printing a 30-page black text document. Color print jobs fared even worse, with mixed text/graphics coming out at a glacial 1.7 ppm on average. Those speeds were well below average for the printer‘s class at the time of release, and they‘ve only fallen further behind in the years since.

By comparison, the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025, a current all-in-one inkjet in the same general price range, delivers black text at a rated 24 ppm. The Canon MAXIFY MB5420 manages up to 22 ppm. In a side-by-side print speed showdown, the WF-3640 simply can‘t keep up.

2. Sky-High Operating Costs

If you think the up-front price of a printer is all you have to worry about, think again. The real money pit lies in the ongoing cost of replacement ink and other consumables. And that‘s another area where the WF-3640 falls flat.

Let‘s do some quick math. The printer‘s standard capacity black cartridges (T774) are rated for just 350 pages and sell for around $30 apiece. That works out to a whopping 8.6 cents per page. The color cartridges (T773) offer an even worse value proposition: 300 pages for roughly $65, or 21.7 cents per page. All told, a full set of standard yield inks will run you nearly $100 and net you a measly 1,250 pages.

The "XL" high-yield cartridges provide some relief, but not much. You‘ll pay about $40 for an 1,100-page black cartridge (3.6 cents per page) and $110 for the 1,200-page color set (9.2 cents per page). That‘s still well above the industry average of 2.3 cents per monochrome page and 8.9 cents per color page for inkjet printers, according to a 2020 study by Market Research Future.

Over the life of the printer, those inflated ink costs can really add up. Assuming an average monthly print volume of 200 pages (70% black, 30% color) and prevailing cartridge prices, you‘re looking at nearly $750 in ink expenses alone over three years with the WF-3640. A more efficient model like the Canon MB5420 would run less than half that.

3. Endless Maintenance Headaches

Clogged print heads and dried-up nozzles are the bane of any inkjet owner‘s existence. But the WF-3640 takes that common problem to a whole new level.

In my experience, this Epson model requires more frequent cleaning cycles and manual intervention than just about any other printer I‘ve worked with. It‘s not uncommon for print quality to degrade noticeably after just a few dozen pages, necessitating yet another trip through the built-in maintenance routine.

Those constant interruptions can quickly eat into your productivity. Imagine having to stop what you‘re doing every few days to run a nozzle check and head cleaning, then wait for the printer to spit out a test page. Now imagine repeating that process multiple times a week, every week. It‘s enough to drive even the most patient user batty.

Sadly, it‘s not just a matter of inconvenience. All that extra maintenance also accelerates wear and tear on the printer‘s mechanical components. Which brings us to our next point…

4. Lackluster Long-Term Reliability

Cheap inkjet printers are practically disposable these days. The economics of the industry incentivize manufacturers to build devices that are just good enough to last through their warranty period, but not much longer. The WF-3640 is no exception.

In fact, it may be one of the worst offenders in its class. A quick scan of user reviews and forums reveals no shortage of horror stories about units failing just months after purchase. Some of the most commonly reported issues include:

  • Paper feed errors: Many users complain of constant paper jams and misfeeds, even with high-quality media. The rollers and separation pads seem particularly prone to premature wear.
  • Print head failures: The WF-3640‘s print heads are a weak link. When they inevitably clog or stop working entirely, the only option is an expensive replacement.
  • Scanner malfunctions: From grinding sounds to streaky scan quality to total unresponsiveness, scanner issues are another common complaint.
  • Software glitches: Crashes, freezes, and communication errors are par for the course with Epson‘s frustratingly buggy printer drivers and utilities.

How widespread are these problems? It‘s hard to say for sure without comprehensive failure rate data from Epson (which they unsurprisingly don‘t make public). But based on the sheer volume of complaints online, it‘s clear that the WF-3640‘s long-term reliability leaves much to be desired.

According to a 2014 study by Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of an all-in-one inkjet printer is just 3 years. With the WF-3640, you may be lucky to get even that much use out of it before something breaks down for good.

5. Substandard Photo Printing

One of the main reasons to choose an inkjet over a laser printer is the promise of high-quality color graphics and photos. But the WF-3640 fails to deliver on that front as well.

Despite Epson‘s claims of "performance beyond laser" and "brilliant colors and sharp text," the reality is much less impressive. Prints from the WF-3640 tend to look dull and flat, with muted colors and visible banding. Fine details get lost in translation, and skin tones come out looking unnatural.

Part of the problem lies with the printer‘s dated four-color ink system. The WF-3640 uses just four dye-based inks – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black – to mix colors. That‘s a step down from the six or more pigment inks found in dedicated photo printers and higher-end all-in-ones.

But even compared to other entry-level inkjets, the WF-3640‘s photo quality falls short. In a roundup of sub-$200 all-in-one printers, Wirecutter ranked the Epson dead last for image quality, behind models from HP, Canon, and Brother. Their verdict: "Colors looked washed out and muddy, and there was noticeable graininess and banding in our test prints."

If photo printing is a priority, you‘d be much better served by a dedicated machine like the Canon IP8720 or Epson‘s own Expression Photo XP-8600. Both offer vastly superior color reproduction and detail for not much more money.

6. Inconsistent Wireless Performance

One of the biggest selling points of modern printers is the ability to print wirelessly from PCs, phones, and tablets. But the WF-3640‘s Wi-Fi connectivity is far from reliable.

Spend any time reading user reviews and you‘ll notice a common refrain: dropped connections, slow transfer speeds, and random errors when trying to print over the network. Even when the printer does show up as online, print jobs can take ages to start or fail midway through for no apparent reason.

Some of these issues can be chalked up to the printer‘s aging 802.11g Wi-Fi adapter. That‘s a far cry from the speedy 802.11ac standard found in most recent routers and client devices. But even with a strong, compatible network signal, the WF-3640‘s wireless performance is spotty at best.

As a result, many users simply opt to connect via USB instead – which rather defeats the purpose of a wireless printer. If you value the convenience and flexibility of untethered printing, there are plenty of newer, more reliable options to choose from.

7. Frustrating User Experience

Modern printers are complex devices with a lot of moving parts – both literally and figuratively. But that doesn‘t excuse the WF-3640‘s confusing and often frustrating user experience.

The problems start with initial setup, which is a far more involved process than it should be. Even with Epson‘s "quick start" guide, you can expect to spend the better part of an hour unpacking, installing ink, calibrating, and connecting the printer to your network. And that‘s assuming everything goes smoothly on the first try.

Once you‘re up and running, the day-to-day experience isn‘t much better. The WF-3640‘s control panel is a study in poor design, with a cluttered layout, confusing icons, and a non-intuitive menu structure. Basic tasks like making copies or scanning to email require far too many button presses and menu dives.

Even something as simple as checking ink levels is needlessly complicated. Instead of displaying remaining ink percentages on the LCD screen, the WF-3640 relies on an arcane system of flashing indicator lights to convey cartridge status. Good luck deciphering what two short flashes followed by a long flash actually means.

To be fair, some of these usability quirks are common to printers of a certain vintage. But that just underscores the point that the WF-3640 is a relic of a bygone era in printer design. In 2023, there‘s simply no excuse for such a clunky, convoluted user interface.

8. Anemic Paper Handling

At first glance, the WF-3640‘s paper capacity specs look promising. With two 250-sheet input trays and a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), it should be well-equipped to handle even high-volume print and scan jobs.

But in practice, the printer‘s paper handling falls short in a number of ways. For starters, those input trays are prone to misalignment and jamming, especially when loaded with heavier media. The ADF is similarly finicky, with a tendency to skew or misfeed pages.

The WF-3640 also lacks some of the paper handling features that have become increasingly common on newer all-in-ones. There‘s no dedicated photo tray for 4×6 or 5×7 media, for example. And the rear specialty media feed is limited to just one sheet at a time.

More troubling is the printer‘s complete lack of support for automatic duplexing. That means any time you want to print on both sides of a sheet, you‘ll have to manually flip the stack and re-feed it into the printer. In an age of resource conservation and environmental responsibility, that kind of wasteful printing should be a deal-breaker.

9. Lackluster Software and Support

No matter how well-designed a printer is, it‘s only as good as the software that drives it. And in the case of the WF-3640, that software leaves much to be desired.

The first red flag is the printer‘s complete lack of support for modern operating systems. Epson officially dropped Windows 10 and macOS Mojave compatibility back in 2016. If you‘re running any OS released in the past five years, you‘ll have to contend with buggy generic drivers and reduced functionality.

But even on a supported platform, the day-to-day user experience is far from seamless. Epson‘s driver software is notoriously prone to crashes, freezes, and memory leaks. And the scan utility in particular is a UX nightmare, with a confusing interface and limited controls.

On the mobile side, Epson‘s iPrint app for iOS and Android is similarly disappointing. The app is sluggish, unintuitive, and missing basic features like the ability to save scanned documents directly to cloud storage. Third-party alternatives like Genius Scan or CamScanner are far more capable.

And then there‘s the matter of long-term support. Like many older printers, the WF-3640 is now officially "end-of-life" from Epson‘s perspective. That means no more firmware updates, security patches, or driver improvements. If you run into a problem down the line, you‘ll be largely on your own.

10. Poor Value in 2023

When it first launched in 2014, the WF-3640 was positioned as a midrange all-in-one for small offices and workgroups. With an MSRP of $199, it offered a compelling balance of features and affordability for the time.

But a lot has changed in the nine years since. Inkjet technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, with newer models offering faster speeds, better print quality, and lower operating costs across the board. And thanks to economies of scale and increased competition, those improvements have come without a significant increase in price.

As a result, the WF-3640 is now a tough sell even at its heavily discounted street price of around $100. For that same money, you could pick up a brand new HP OfficeJet Pro 8025 or Canon PIXMA TR8620 – both of which offer vastly superior performance, features, and reliability.

In fact, it‘s hard to think of a single compelling reason to choose the WF-3640 over one of its more modern competitors. Its print speeds are glacial, its ink costs are exorbitant, and its output quality is mediocre at best. Factor in the endless maintenance headaches and lack of long-term support, and you have a recipe for buyer‘s remorse.

The bottom line? In 2023, the Epson WF-3640 is a printer that‘s well past its prime. It may have been a decent choice a decade ago, but by today‘s standards, it‘s simply not worth your time or money. There are far better options available for both home and office users alike.


As a digital technology expert, my job is to cut through the marketing hype and help clients make smart, informed buying decisions. And when it comes to the Epson WF-3640, the verdict is clear: this is a printer that‘s best avoided.

From its sluggish performance to its frustrating user experience to its sky-high operating costs, the WF-3640 falls short in almost every conceivable way. It‘s a relic of a bygone era in printer design, and it shows in everything from its clunky control panel to its dated connectivity options.

But perhaps most damning of all is the WF-3640‘s complete lack of future-proofing. With no more firmware updates or security patches from Epson, this is a device that‘s destined for obsolescence sooner rather than later. And in an age of rapid technological change, that‘s simply unacceptable.

So if you‘re in the market for a new all-in-one printer, do yourself a favor and cross the WF-3640 off your list. Whether you opt for a newer Epson model like the WorkForce Pro WF-4830 or explore options from other manufacturers, there are plenty of better choices available for your money.

Your printing needs – and your sanity – will thank you in the long run.