Epson EcoTank L355
A printer with no cartridges? We discover more…
Manufacturers make a lot of money out of our penchant for printing, but the new EcoTank range is different – this all-in-one printer and scanner includes a fourtank silo into which you can squirt enough ink for (according to Epson) two years’ worth of printing.
Epson makes up for the lack of ongoing cartridge sales with a significant price premium. The similar-looking £70 Epson Expression Home XP-225 isn’t as good as the L355 when you get deep into the spec sheet, but is similar in look and function. The XP-355 – which features an LCD screen that the L355 doesn’t – is £80. So being generous, we’re looking at around a £170 price premium for the ink supplied with the L355. Is that good value? Using the ISO/IEC 24711 figures quoted by Epson, you’ll get up to 6,500 pages from the L355’s 70ml ink tanks, which equates to about 2.6p per page for that extra outlay.
For the Expression Home XP-322 you’re looking at £54 for four XL tanks which, according to the ISO/ IEC 24711 figures will print 450 pages (12p per page), so already you can see the extra outlay is worth it. (The equivalent ink would cost you well over £700!)
Filling the tanks isn’t difficult but you do need to squeeze the bottle to get the ink into the tank… too hard and you’ll end up, as we did, with ink spitting out across the top of the other tanks. Be careful!
It’s relatively easy to set up the printer over Wi-Fi – the software takes you through the process and automatically acquires the network name and password. However, it falls down a little when it asks you whether you want to use DHCP to assign the IP address; this is the kind of terminology that most users just don’t want to be bombarded with. You can use the Epson iPrint app, but we’d like to see provision for AirPrint, too.
For us, the key question is not whether the printer is worth the outlay – it is – but you definitely need to be sure you print enough pages to make it worth it for you. If you only print a few hundred pages per year, you could be buying a surplus of ink that will outlive the printer. Dan Grabham
Not the most polished printer around, but, if you print enough, the L355 provides terrific value.
Prepare for spills when filling the ink tanks from the
four 70ml bottles provided.