Imagine this. It’s 9pm on Sunday and you need to print an important document for a 9am meeting tomorrow. You click print and a box pops up saying you’re out of black ink. You think to yourself “damn, I wish I had remembered to buy ink when it said it was low last week”. There are no shops open except the supermarket. You could see if they have anything, but it might be a wasted trip.
It’s an all too common situation - running out of ink at the worst possible time and having to pop out to get a new ink cartridge. A lot of the time, the ink won’t last that long – you’ll be able to print a few hundred pages before it starts to run low again.
This is where Epson have come up with an ingenious solution. It’s their new EcoTank range of printers. Sure they’re a bit more expensive than your standard ink jet printer, but this one is different. It stands out because it has a big refillable ink tank attached to the printer. No more replacing cartridges, no more running out of ink every few weeks.
In fact they boast that a full tank of ink will last about two years, or around 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 pages in colour. Not only that, they supply the first bottles of ink with the printer!
I gave the EcoTank L455 a test run, and I was impressed. Setting it up took a bit of time. With no USB connection, it does force you to set it up on your wireless network straight away – no simple plug and play here unfortunately. But with that comes great benefits, including being able to print from your laptop, smartphone or tablet anywhere in the house. You can also print from anywhere in the world with their Epson Print Connect service, as well as using Google Cloud Print.
On top of that, the L455 model includes a built in scanner and copier, as well as an SD card reader in case you want to print your photos immediately.
Filling the tank is easy and takes only a few minutes. The tank and ink bottles are designed to make it mess-free to fill it up. However be warned there is a small chance you make get a few splatters of ink on your hands if you try to fill them too quickly - nothing that doesn’t wash off easily though. It also took about 20 minutes to “charge” the ink.
While the total set up time took about 45 minutes to an hour (including setting it up to the Epson Connect service), I have probably saved even more time throughout the life of the printer in time I would’ve spent having to go out to the store and buy ink all the time.
In fact with its easy wireless connectivity, I’ve been printing more than ever, knowing that I don’t have to worry about running out of ink any time soon. I even printed my weekly shopping list from my phone, just because I could. And before you reprimand me for wasting paper, don’t worry - it’s all been recycled.
Overall I think this printer is going to save people a lot of time. Sure, it’s going to take time to set up, but will save you heaps of time in the long run. And while the range of EcoTank printers is more expensive in the short term as well, you’re not going to have to constantly shell out more cash for ink every so often. Well worth the investment.
Epson EcoTank L455
- Multi-function inkjet printer
- Refillable ink tank
- Comes with 4 ink bottles (Black, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta)
- Replacement ink bottles $19.95 RRP
- Wireless printing via Epson Connect, Google Cloud Print or Apple AirPrint
- Available at Harvey Norman for $479