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Rating: 5/5 1 Votes

Epson Workforce 600 - An Epic Fail Like no Other

I wish I could write this review in a positive way, but doing so would be doing an injustice to you and giving the programs of this product too much credit.

I am talking about the Epson Workforce 600 all in one printer/fax/scanner/copier with Ethernet, and Wireless.

I have setup many printers, and all in one units in my day, from huge laser jets, to printing presses, and from all makes and models. But never before have I had such a horrible experience setting up a printer.

The problems started right from the moment I turned it on and it got to the initial configuration screen. It wanted me to put the date and time in. So I used the keypad to navigate to the date field and tried to put in today's date... and found that I could'nt. It would't let me, it kept beeping at me. I scratched my head, it had the month right, but it would't let me set the day, but I could set the year.

Come to find out there is another setting right above where you put the date in, for what format you want the date to be. The default format was DD-MM-YYYY, meaning I was trying to make it set the month to the 28th month! Noticing the error of my ways, I adjusted the date format setting and could go about the rest of the setup.

Now in the past where I have a unit that has built-in wireless and a "console" to change the settings I go ahead and setup the unit to connect to the wireless and then drop the disk in each computer and would be done in around 10-15 minutes per computer. I do it this way, because the software does'nt have to go and guess at settings, and make you wait for extra stuff to setup the printer on the network.

So I got to the Wireless configuration screen, and selected WEP (It was an install for a customer, and they wanted to use WEP not that I wanted to) and then it asked me to type in the SSID or to find it. I chose the lazy option of finding it. For some God unknown reason it listed the same access point twice, I confirmed there were no duplicates in the area with a laptop. I just selected one, and hoped the machine would figure it out.

Now what hit me next, I would have never of guessed, not in a couple dozen years. It gave me the standard choice of 40bit or 128bit... where was 64? Anyway... I picked the 40bit that was needed. I got the next screen and it asks me if I want to put in a Alphanumeric password, or a Hexadecimal password... I guess this was to allow for people who use passphrase generators? I decided to be amuse myself and check the Alphanumeric option it prompted me to enter a maximum of 5 characters for the password. This definately was not what I thought it was, so I hit back and decided to get back to work and select what I needed, the Hexidecimal option. So I start using the up and down arrows to scroll through the characters A, B, C, D, E, F, G... G? H, I, J, K... WTF!? All the way to Z and then it rolls back to A.

I could'nt belive this, I mean did the programers for the firmware have ANY...ANY understanding of WEP? Better yet, ANY understand of what Hexidecimal is? For those who do not know Hexidecimal is in very basic terms using 16 characters to have values of  0 to 15 but with only 1 character. So this means you have valid choices of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F . This makes the rest of the bloody alphabet not a valid option!

However it got worse, yes I could understand that maybe they just reused some letter scrolling code or something, fine... but tell me... How do I get to the numbers? Yeah... I could'nt figure it out. I stood there for at least 5 minutes trying to access the input method for doing numbers. I could'nt figure it out. Maybe you have to finish inputing all the letters first and then do the numbers, now that I think about it. However I tried EVERY single button on the device and could not do it, including the what should just work... The number pad.

At this point I gave up and went to the manual. The manual says NOTHING about setting up the device through the console. It had a screen shot of the settings panel, and that was it.

So I decided, fine... Fine I'll go through and do it as the instructions want step by step. So I gather the documentation, and I find this little gem!

See that... the little part about "DO NOT follow the steps in the 'Install Software' section". I love that part, because the instructions in the "Network Installation Guide" tell you to do the same thing as the "Install Software" section.

Let make this short because this thing gave me headache... I grab the cd, fnding amusement that it really is shipped in a ziplock style bag. I ran the software on the CD, it wants me to connect the unit to the network via ethernet so it can see it, I don't trust the wireless implementation one bit and leave it on the ethernet. The PC gets installed and can print, and scan, and everything is happy! Except for me, because now I have to install this charming software on a Macintosh now.

Again to make it brief! I put th CD in, I run the "Epson.app" (Yes that is as it displayed on the Mac, this put some confidence in me), it gives me the options to install, I choose the OCR driver, and print driver. It now prompts for the user password, installs something (Does'nt say what exactly), prompts for the password again, installs something else, and it goes back to the options screen. He I used my powers of logic to conclude it just installed the OCR driver, and it seems to be starting the print driver installer... that wants the password... yet again... Apparently Epson does'nt know that the main installer could ask for permission to install apps, and anything it runs would inherit that permission. Yet another installer runs and does the Epson Net Config installation. During this whole non-sense I remember selecting the printer and telling it to install it.

So the installer finishes, and I get an odd button that says "Add Printer". I thought I already did add the printer, but I guess not. This button is'nt from OS X, this was from the Epson software. I click the button, and a little window slides out that tells me to click on the plus, and add Epson TCP/IP printer, etc, etc. However there is no plus, there are no other windows. Again I use my powers of deduction to figure that I need to open the printers preferense pane and add the printer myself. I would have used the Epson TCP/IP it wanted, but it required me to put in the IP address, which I did not have.

SO I figured, let me play the unknowing end user and skip it, and find another option as not once through this whole configuration has it told me what the IP address is. I find the printer listed via bonjour and use that. It installed the printer fine, and everything is good. The epson software continues and tells me the next step is setting up for network scanning. I hit the finish button expecting yet another wizard to pop up... which never came.

Now I dig through the applications folder, find the scan app, and I run it. Just to get an error that it can't communicate with the scanner, and it asks if I want to troubleshoot. SURE! Why not, let's make this interesting!, EH? I run through the trouble shooter, and it tells me to check the scan settings by opening the scanner app by going to Start->Programs.. Wait... WHAT?

That's right the Mac troubleshooter is NO different in text that the Windows troubleshooter. I double checked this, I went through and made sure there was'nt an option to go to the Mac or Windows help, and there is no option. All the help is written, (or at least on the branch I needed) for windows.

Finally I find the configuration app, set it up and the mac can scan through the network. NOW everything is happy, and I am in the market for a few beers.

I have seen bad software in my day... and I have seen bad hardware... However almost never do you spend over $100 and get BOTH.

I would'nt trust this thing to work right on a wireless network, I hardly trust it to work right on the wired based on how the wireless, AND the desktop software worked.

The print quality is'nt even anything to be impressed with either, it looked like the test page came out of a circa 2000 inkjet.

End users hardly ever read documentation, and when that documentation comes with documentation that tells you not to do what the other documentation says to do... What is the average end user supposed to do? Further some of the crap I had to go through the documentation says nothing about, or even gives a hint at. Yet to make it even more anoying, the product is sold as Mac compatible, but I had the most difficulty trying to get it to work on the Mac, and found no help in the troubleshooter because it was for windows. There might be a firmware update for this thing, but this is hardly a new product, and end users should not be expected to have to get new firmware and software right out of the box to be able to use the thing.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10

Why a 1 out of 10? Why not a 0? Because the thing turns on, and it does work, but you have to jump through so many hoops to do a network install how and I give it anymore points? The build quality could'nt be worse, and in general if I personally bought it I would return it and demand a refund for the thing, and my time wasted trying to use it.

 


Last Updated: 07/28/2009 11:29 PM

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Fail Printer Epson Workforce 600

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