Epson changed the business model for inkjet printers last year when it introduced its first Ecotank model. For decades, printer manufacturers have tempted us in by selling their printers at attractively low prices – and then making a killing with the high cost of their replacement ink cartridges. In contrast, Epson’s Ecotank range cost a lot more than conventional inket printers, but they do away with conventional ink cartridges and replace them with large, refillable ink tanks that offer a much lower cost per page over the lifetime of the printer.
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Epson Ecotank ET-2500 review: price
It’s a great idea, but the high price of those early Ecotank models – typically starting at well over £300 – would have put them beyond the reach of many home users and small businesses. This year’s second-generation of Ecotank printer are still fairly expensive, but the new ET-2500 costs £229.99 when bought directly from Epson, and you can buy it for £199 from John Lewis, which brings it more into line with conventional inkjet printers.
Epson Ecotank ET-2500 review: features
Like all the Ecotank models, the ET-2500 is a multifunction device that includes printer, scanner and copier functions, along with both wifi and USB connectivity. It’s not the most elegant printer we’ve ever seen, as the large ink tanks bolted onto the side of the device look rather ungainly, as well as adding several inches to the overall width of the printer. There’s no internal paper tray either, so you have to feed paper in through a tray that protrudes from the back of the printer.
The lower price of this model involves a few other compromises too. There’s no LCD control panel at all, no option for duplex (two-sided) printing, and no support for Apple’s AirPlay for iOS devices – although Epson does offer its own iPrint app, which is available for iOS and Android devices. The lack of duplex printing is particularly disappointing for a printer in this price range, and you’ll have to step up to one of the more expensive Ecotank models if you need that specific feature.
Epson Ecotank ET-2500 review: performance
It’s not the fastest printer around either, although its speeds of 7.5 pages per minute for mono text documents and 4ppm for text-and-graphics should still be perfectly adequate for most home users. Print quality is good too, with smooth, clean text that looks very close to laser quality, and excellent colour graphics and photo output.
But, of course, it’s the printer’s running costs that make it stand out from the crowd. The price of the ET-2500 includes four bottles of ink – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – that should last for 4,000 pages of black text, and 6,500 pages of text-and-graphics. When those inks run out you simply buy new bottles of ink and squirt them into the tanks on the side of the printer. Each bottle costs £7.99, which works out at about 0.2p per page for black text, and 0.4p for colour. That’s drastically cheaper than any conventional inkjet printer from rivals such as HP or Canon – and also undercuts options such as HP’s Instant Ink subscription scheme.
The only drawback, really, is that you need to use the printer on a regular, daily basis over a period of 2-3 years in order to make the most of those savings. However, Epson offers a three-year warranty on all its Ecotank printers, so the ET-2500 is clearly a printer that’s meant to last.