I received an Epson ET 4550 Eco-Tank printer to review.
I run a small business from home and also have two secondary age children. They both have lots of project work and things they want to print – we also regularly print out photos for sending to relatives, and I enjoy papercrafts and cardmaking and quite often print out fully coloured A4 sheets, and full sized photo images. So I need a workhorse of a printer.
Before receiving this printer I have normally bought printers in the £50-£100 range, so the price of this (£365) is a bit more than I would normally consider paying, but that being said, my cheaper printers normally give out after a year or so, and I spend a small fortune on printer cartridges, so I’m hoping that this printer will actually end up saving me money in the long run.
The printer was delivered by courier very quickly after I agreed to review it. It was very easy to take out of the box and plug in. the build quality seems very sturdy – certainly a bit better than the cheaper printers I normally have. the paper tray holds a sizeable chunk of paper and it’s easy to see how to position A4, A5 and photos, which are the main sizes that I use.
Epson ET-4550 – Ease of Set Up
I was a little bit confused when I started to unpack the printer – I normally follow the paper instructions when setting up a printer but they seemed a little unclear. However the first instruction was to input the CD to load the drivers for the Epson ET-4550 , and as well as doing that, the CD also walked me through the rest of the set up process, which was actually very straightforward.
The only part which was different to normal printers was the installation of the ink. The printer has large tanks for ink on the side, which thankfully are clearly marked so that dummies like me can see what to do:
Epson supply you with two bottles of ink for each tank, which could be enough for up to two years of use. Looking online I can see that the ink bottles are retailing for less than £10 each – so although each one is supposed to last a year it is cheaper than a normal cartridge which only usually lasts me a couple of months.
I was really quite scared about the filling – that is a huge amount of ink to spill all over the carpet, or to put in the wrong hole… But really there was nothing to worry about and I managed the filling in about 10 minutes – after which the printer needed to initialise itself which took another 20 minutes. That’s a bit longer than normal but it was fine.
The printer comes with a warning that the ink levels are not easy to show you automatically, so you are encouraged to keep an eye on the levels physically and top up when necessary. This is fairly easy to do as the tanks are translucent so you can see the levels.
I will report back in a few months with another snapshot of the levels to show whether or not Epson’s promise of a year of use is likely to be true for me. (UPDATE: I wrote this review in January 2016, and finally bought ink for this printer, which cost about £40, in January 2021) – this is amazing !
This is what Epson has to say about the ET-4550 – with my annotations
Say goodbye to ink cartridges
“The star of the ET-4550 is its newly designed integrated ultra-high-capacity ink tank system, which completely does away with the need for ink cartridges. That means less fuss and much more printing between refills than other inkjet printers. As well as doing away with ink cartridges, the ET-4550 has six 70ml colour and two 140ml black Epson genuine ink bottles in the box, which are easy, clean and quick to use.”
– Yes this is true. I was scared about the bottles, scared of getting something wrong or spilling such a huge quantity of ink , but in fact the refill process was really easy. I hope that it does last a year – that would be amazing, but in any case it should last longer than any cartridge I have ever used – I seem to have to change artridges every couple of months or so normally. I am also amazed to see that the ink bottles are retailing for less than £10 each so they will be cheaper to buy than a single cartridge on my previous printer. I guess bottles are cheaper than cartridges to manufacture.
Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity
“Equipped with Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi direct, the ET-4550 can take advantage of all Epson Connect4 features. Print quickly and easily over Wi-Fi from a smartphone using the free Epson iPrint app, print remotely or email the ET-4550 a print job.”
– I expect this from a printer – my two previous printers have had this possibility. So I am pleased to report that it was extremely easy to set up and works well straight out of the tin. I have set up the remote printing and can use the printer from all the family iPhones and iPads
Quick, quality results
“The ET-4550 uses Epson’s own Micro Piezo technology for excellent-quality print-outs. Mono prints are delivered at a rate of 13 pages per minute while it can issue 7.3 colour pages per minute5. The 150-sheet paper tray, 30-page ADF and automatic duplex printing help you boost productivity, while black pigment ink is used to deliver high-quality text printing.”
– Yes I agree with this too. I was a bit disappointed to discover that this printer won’t do double sided A5 printing as my previous printer did. I receive a lot of PDF documents and if I print them at all I generally shrink them down to A5 size and print double sided, saving paper and ink compared to single sided A4.
But I forgave the Epson ET-4550 this omission when I discovered that it could print double sided A4 as a booklet with each page reduced to A5.
I’m really happy with the print quality so far. You can choose the quality, so I can print my less important things in Eco mode and save ink. It does what I need and it does it quickly and relatively quietly. In any case the Wifi means I can have the printer in a different room to the one I work in so the whirring noise doesn’t bother me.
The Epson ET 4550 is available from Amazon and other retailers (affiiate link). At the time or writing this, Amazon has a link on its page pointing to a £50 cashback offer from Epson when you buy an Eco tank printer, which is a nice bonus.
I would definitely recommend this printer for busy family homes and small business owners. I will report back in a few months and add to this review when I have a better idea how Eco-friendly and efficient this new ink delivery system really is, but I’m quite willing to believe it based on what I have seen so far.
Update – as I said above – the ink cartridges that this printer shipped with lasted me nearly 5 years and the replacements cost £40. This is not the best quality printer I ever used, but for the economy of ink use I’m keeping it
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