Ep­son EcoTank printer

Cost-ef­fec­tive home print­ing

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Inkjet prin­ters are quite cheap to buy, but they can run out of ink quickly and then really sting you when it’s time to buy re­place­ment car­tridges. Ep­son’s EcoTank prin­ters turn that ap­proach on its head. They’re more ex­pen­sive up front, but the large ink tank bolted onto the side of the prin­ters holds enough ink to print thou­sands of pages.

The EcoTank ET-4550 ups the ante even fur­ther. Its £370 price tag does seem ex­pen­sive at first, but it in­cludes enough ink to print a full 11,000 pages in colour (us­ing all four coloured inks). That works out at just un­der 3.5p per page for colour, far lower than a con­ven­tional inkjet printer. Ep­son doesn’t quote a cost for print­ing text with black ink alone, but we es­ti­mate mono print­ing at around 1p per page, which is also pretty good. Re­place­ment inks are even cheaper. A set of four inks costs £35 and will last for about 6,000 pages in colour – just 0.6p per page.

Print qual­ity is good too, with smooth text out­put and colour­ful graph­ics and pho­tos. The ET-4550 is not spec­tac­u­larly fast, but speeds of 12 pages per minute for text and 5.5ppm for colour are re­spectable enough. It also in­cludes a scan­ner, copier and fax ma­chine, so has all the main fea­tures that home or small busi­ness users will need.

If you only print a few pages a week then you prob­a­bly don’t need a high-vol­ume printer like this, but it will be a real money-saver if you reg­u­larly print a lot of doc­u­ments. Cliff Joseph

It’s a bit bulky, but the EcoTank ET-4550 holds enough ink to print 11,000 pages.

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