Printers are an essential to home office setups, especially if you’re like us who actually work from home and are printing a lot. However, this can be an expensive venture and a trip to your local off-licence with a scanner could sometimes be the cheaper option. However, with the introduction of the EcoTank design, this could eliminate that problem.
Epson state that the printer, although more expensive in its initial purchase is going to cost you much less in the long run to traditional printers. This is because the Epson ET-2650 uses ink tanks rather than cartridges. Epson quote that with full tanks, you will be able to print up to 4,500 pages of black and 7,500 pages of colour. That’s only 0.008p in the UK per monochrome sheet and 0.0048p per colour sheet. That’s an astounding figure if you ask me, and one that almost feels like it sits on par with those giant printers you usually find in offices. Be warned though, that a good amount of ink will be required to initialise the printer, so you won’t get that until you purchase your first set of inks separately.
The whole unit sits at 12 x 18 x 21 inches and would easily sit on a desktop setup. It’s not very big at all considering. The tanks can be found underneath a hood on the right hand side, keeping them out the way. There’s a transparent section where you can actually physically see your ink levels rather than relying on the software to tell you ink is running low. On the front is a 1.4 inch monitor and a few buttons so you can navigate menus easily and get through your setup process with ease.
Paper is fed through the back of the printer and can hold up to 100 pages, and printing spits them out of the front on the 30 page tray. However, I felt that these two areas in particular were a little flimsy, and I’m not sure if it was our model, but the rear printer tray kept coming off of its runs, and I had to keep snapping it back into place. Not the best build on either of these two sections. They do fold in if you’re not storing paper in them to minimalise the space this printer takes up.
Connectivity is also pretty good too, with options for a USB connection directly to your desktop, WiFi if you’re printing from a laptop and even the chance to use various apps on a mobile device like Google Cloud Print and Epson Connect.
On top is a scanner which can only handle one page at a time. In a home office this is more than enough, and there is no automatic document feeder if you’re wanting to scan or copy multi-page documents. There’s also no auto-duplexing either so you’re not able to print on both sides of a single piece of paper. The scanner will scan images at 1,200 DPI x 2,400 DPI. There is an SD card reader so you can print your documents or even photos directly from an SD card which is a nice feature and saves you having to turn on your machine, but there is no USB input for memory sticks or external hard drives.
Setup was fairly straightforward but make sure you set aside some time. The initialisation of the printer took a good half an hour, and wouldn’t let me do this unless ink was already inside the tanks. The ink was nice to install and required a little squeeze on the bottles to get all of the ink into the tanks. It didn’t just pour out like some ink bottles do. I only spilled a tiny amount so no real mess at all. I installed the printer directly onto my laptop, so I avoided any USB connection, and it worked first time.
Epson installed the driver onto my machine which allows me to print from inside programs like Microsoft Office and PDF viewer. There’s also something called Scan 2, which is Epson’s interface for scanning documents. It’s a simple software with two different options; simple or advanced. I used simple for everything I scanned, and the quality came out decent. One thing I did find though is that the Epson ET-2650 had to be turned on to use the scanner. No big deal as most of the time I was sitting at my desk anyway.
Epson claim the ET-2650 can print around 10 pages per minute in monochrome and around 4.5 in colour. I was very happy with this speed as I am not really an urgent printer. I don’t need to get documents across the office in record time, it’s just me here. Photos however take considerable longer, especially if you’re printing onto Epson’s photo paper. However, the worst thing I can see when printing your photos is the fact its unable to print borderless images. A little frustrating when you’re going to be sticking your pictures into frames to display around the house.
The actually quality of prints is pretty decent too, even when using smaller fonts on something like a Word document. Gradients in colour were also handled pretty well, with very little banding in the actual image itself. The best thing about this though was the photo quality it could produce. I used the maximum quality preset inside of the settings menu, and although used more ink, the quality was so worth it. Again, the borderless finish was its biggest drawback for me. You will have to use some kind of border inside of a photo frame to finish it off.
So in conclusion, the Epson ET-2650 can print pretty inexpensively if you’re going to be using it as a home office printer. Photos, not so much but that’s to be expected as the amount of ink used is significantly more. Ink refills come in at around £36 for a complete set, which in my opinion is very cheap for the amount of prints you get. You can’t print borderless photographs unfortunately, but the quality that you get from them is absolutely wonderful, easily a print you could be proud of and display in your home. The printer itself can be found online for a variety of prices which is odd, but we found it for as little as £199.99 from some retailers. A quick Google will point out which ones. For more information though, you can visit the Epson website.