Computing

Fill ‘er up! Epson’s EcoTank ET-2850: A Printer that Saves Ink and Boosts Efficiency

Epson understands the frustrations that come with traditional ink cartridges, which is why they developed the EcoTank printer. This innovative printer is equipped with large, refillable tanks that eliminate the need to constantly replace cartridges. When it’s time to refill the EcoTank, you simply pour ink from bottles, minimizing waste and maximizing your printing experience.

Design

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is attractive and compact.
The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is attractive and compact. Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

The EcoTank ET-2850 boasts an attractive neutral white body that effortlessly blends into any home or office environment. If you prefer a sleeker look, a black version is also available. This all-in-one printer is remarkably compact, measuring just 17.6 by 22.3 inches and standing at a height of 10.7 inches.

Epson wants to ensure that you know this isn’t your ordinary inkjet printer. That’s why they’ve incorporated visible ink reservoirs on the front panel. These reservoirs, with translucent panels for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink, allow you to see the remaining ink levels at a glance. While the individual colors aren’t discernible behind the plastic, it’s reassuring to know how much ink you have and the massive printing capacity.

You can fill these reservoirs easily with Epson ink bottles, each containing enough ink for over a year of printing. The process is simple: unscrew the bottle, pour it into the correct tank, and wait for the printer to fill up. To prevent any mishaps, there’s a handy diagram inside the printer reminding you not to squeeze the bottles during refilling. Filling the black tank takes just over a minute, while the colors only require approximately 30 seconds each.

Epson mentions that some of the included ink is used during the initial setup to charge the system. However, future replacement inks should provide even more prints per bottle.

The center panel of the printer can be tilted up for easy viewing and houses a 1.4-inch color display with buttons on either side for convenient operation. While the display effectively guides you through various tasks, a few buttons have unusual symbols that may be confusing on such a small screen. A touchscreen would have been a more user-friendly alternative.

The paper tray at the back can hold up to 100 sheets of paper, which may be considered slightly low for some users. However, since the EcoTank ET-2850 is not primarily designed for business purposes, it shouldn’t pose a problem for most users. Additionally, the tray is clearly labeled, making it easy to know which side faces up when loading paper, and the size guides are straightforward to adjust.

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Printing performance

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 offers excellent photo print quality.
The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 offers excellent photo print quality, with minor concerns about blue tints. Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 may not be the fastest printer on the market, but its speed is more than sufficient for most users who don’t require rapid document printing. Black-and-white documents can be printed at a rate of approximately 10 pages per minute (ppm), while color printing is slightly slower. If speed is a priority, laser printers often outperform inkjets when it comes to printing multiple pages.

When it comes to printing photos on 4-by-6-inch paper, the EcoTank ET-2850 delivers quick and impressive results. With a print resolution of 4800-by-1200 dpi, pixelation is eliminated, resulting in high-quality, crisp, and colorful prints. These prints are more than suitable for everyday use and may even meet the requirements for special projects. However, if you require even more vibrant and precise colors, Epson offers 6-color EcoTank printers specifically designed for professional photo printing.

Occasionally, a slight blue tint may be noticeable in the prints. However, adjusting the paper type to “Photo Quality Ink Jet” resolves this issue, resulting in prints with accurate color tones. This adjustment is recommended even when printing on glossy paper.

Special features

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850's flatbed scanner is exceptional for capturing detail.
The Epson EcoTank ET-2850’s flatbed scanner works well and captures great detail. Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is not just a printer; it also includes a flatbed scanner. With a resolution of up to 1,200 dpi, it can capture four times the amount of detail compared to some competing printers. Scanning a whole page with such precision takes approximately two minutes, preserving every aspect of your document. This level of resolution rivals that of some of the best standalone scanners available.

One notable feature is the OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which allows you to save a scanned document as a searchable PDF. However, the quality of OCR may vary, and it is most effective with high-quality, modern documents. Older documents, such as those typed on a typewriter many years ago, may pose some challenges for the OCR.

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In addition to scanning, the EcoTank ET-2850 also functions as a copier, offering the option to reduce or enlarge documents. Epson even provides free templates to assist with creative projects, providing you with a head start.

Software and compatibility

The EcoTank ET-2850 is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. For Windows PC and Mac users, there is no need to install drivers. However, it is advisable to ensure that you have the latest software version to access all of the printer’s features. On your iPhone or Android device, you can use the dedicated apps to check ink levels and print remotely.

While installing the mobile app on your smartphone and following the instructions is often the quickest setup method for many printers, the Epson SmartPanel app failed to connect to the EcoTank ET-2850 in my case, both on iPhone and Android. As a result, I resorted to manual setup, which proved to be a much simpler alternative. I would recommend installing the EcoTank ET-2850 using the physical buttons and display to avoid any potential hassles. Once the setup is complete, connecting via a smartphone or computer is straightforward.

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 comes with a generous supply of ink.
The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 comes with a generous supply of ink. Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

During my testing, I used my iPhone and noticed that I had to set the paper size on both the printer and the mobile app whenever I changed paper. Forgetting to select the media type and size would result in having to return to the printer before printing. Fortunately, you can disable these warning prompts by turning off the “Error Notice” option under the paper source settings.

Price

The ink levels barely dropped even after extensive use of the printer.
Even after extensive use, the ink levels barely dropped. Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850 has a retail price of $350, but it is often available for around $300 during sales. It comes with four starter bottles of ink. According to Epson, a full set of ink bottles can last up to two years of printing. This might sound unbelievable, but I can assure you that the ink tanks in this printer are truly massive. Even after printing 26 color documents, 29 4×6 photo prints, and two full-page borderless color photo prints, the ink levels barely moved.

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Epson estimates that the ink in a set of bottles is equivalent to 90 ink cartridges, which would cost over $1,000. By this calculation, the EcoTank ET-2850 offers exceptional value for money. The included ink bottles indicate an estimated page yield of 6,500 for black and 5,200 for color. For future replacement ink bottles, the estimated yield is even higher, at 7,500 pages for black and 6,000 for color.

Furthermore, Epson provides an incredibly generous two-year warranty, which is twice as long as what most printers in this price range offer. With such extensive warranty coverage and an almost limitless supply of ink, you may want to set the EcoTank ET-2850 as your default printer.

Is the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 the Right Printer for You?

It’s hard to go wrong with the Epson EcoTank ET-2850. For home use, it is an excellent all-in-one printer that eliminates the hassle of constantly replacing ink cartridges. Once the initial setup is complete, you’ll rarely need to interact with the printer, except for paper changes, making copies, or scanning.

There are a few minor software issues that might complicate the setup process, and the paper change warning can be quite annoying until you learn to turn it off. However, most functions work smoothly, though I was unable to get double-sided printing to work from any device, including a Windows PC.

While the upfront cost may be higher than that of budget printer models, the EcoTank ET-2850 offers cost savings in the long run, especially if you print frequently. With this printer, your main constraint will be paper, not ink. If you often print long documents or high-volume color prints, the slower speed might become slightly inconvenient.

Overall, the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 is an outstanding all-in-one inkjet printer with excellent photo printing quality. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to avoid the waste and expense associated with traditional ink cartridges.


This article was written by an SEO specialist and copywriter from OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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