Epson ET 2500 – The beginning of the end of the inkjet rip-off?
Thanks to advances in silicon-chip production, computer technology gets cheaper all the time. But printers are mostly boxes of cogs, so the only way to make them cheaper is to cheat. And that’s what printer manufacturers have been doing – shifting the price from the hardware to ink, which comes in tiny quantities in wastefully packaged cartridges. As a consequence, printing one page of text and color graphics typically costs between 6-10p.
With Epson’s EcoTank system, that figure falls to less than half a penny. And you won’t even pay that until you’ve used up the ink that comes with the printer, which should last you about two years. In return, you do pay more for the machine – in this case about three times the price of a conventional multi-function printer (MFP). But keep in mind that one set of extra-large cartridges.
EcoTank bottles cost less than half that for around 10 times more ink. The Epson ET 2500 is rather basic. It has USB and Wi-Fi connections, and accommodates a scanner, but the onboard controls are limited, and there’s no automatic doublesided (duplex) printing or options for borderless photos. The appendage on the right-hand side (much like a lean-to shed) is where you’ll find the ink tanks.
Refilling them from Epson’s satisfyingly large ink bottles can be a bit fiddly, so you have to take care to match the colors. While most printers keep track of the levels in their cartridges, the Epson ET 2500 just gives a warning when it thinks you’re low on ink, so you’ll need to keep checking manually. In other respects, it works like a standard MFP.
The software is easy to set up; just make sure you have a USB cable handy, even if you’re planning to use it wirelessly, because it’s needed to configure the Wi-Fi settings. Over USB, the ET-2500 lived up to Epson’s modest speed claims, managing 7.5 pages per minute (ppm) of black text, or 16.4ppm at draft quality.
That’s not bad, but color printing was slow, with our five pages of graphics ambling out at 2.8ppm. A single 6x4in photo at high quality took four minutes. Monochrome photocopies were acceptably fast at 15 seconds, but color copies took 36. An A4 page scanned at a fax-quality 150 dots per inch (dpi) in just 11 seconds, but more detailed scans were slower: a 6x4in photo at 1200dpi took more than two minutes, although it did look great. Print quality was less convincing, with slightly drab colors and not the sharpest text, but still quite decent.
Epson ET 2500 VERDICT
This is an underwhelming printer, but we love the idea of scrapping overpriced print cartridges, and it really does work out cheaper.
Epson ET 2500 SPECIFICATIONS
5670x1440dpi maximum print resolution • 9.2ppm quoted speed (mono) • 4.5ppm quoted speed (colour) • 1200x2400dpi maximum scan resolution • USB • 802.11n Wi-Fi • 169x489x300mm (HxWxD) • 4.6kg Three-year warranty