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We are huge fans of tech in this house. Looking around me now, I can see a MacBook, iMac, Apple Watch, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, LG TV, Apple TV a Chromecast and digital TV box, not to mention the kitchen gadgets – Vitamix, KitchenAid, Tefal Cuisine Companion… if it has a plug and does something cool, I’m all over it.
Saying that, printers have never been something I’ve had any interest in whatsoever. They’re purely functional, we need them to do a job and do it well… they can’t vibrate to tell me I have reached my goal of 10,000 steps that day, or stream Orange Is The New Black on to my TV. Bor-ing.
And that’s before you even think about the sheer cost of the printer cartridges, which sit somewhere between ‘tampons’ and ‘bin bags’ on my list of ‘Things I Really Need To Buy But Don’t Want To. Yep, as far as I’m concerned, printers have always been the unsexy cousin of exciting tech from Apple.
But then I was introduced to the Epson EcoTank range of printers.
These bad boys arrive to you with two years of ink, so you needn’t worry about suffering the urge to throw your laptop out the window because you just spent fifty quid on printer cartridges. Their in-built reservoirs hold the equivalent of 72 cartridges, saving you around 70% on usual print costs.
Crucially for me, these printers just do what they’re supposed to. The last time I purchased a printer, a mid-range model for about £50, I brought it home, plugged it in and spent almost three hours trying to set up its wifi connectivity. And this is me, a girl who will happily CHMOD files on her website via FTP, someone who’s fluent in HTML and loves nothing better than a good technical conundrum. If I couldn’t work out how to set up a printer in a wifi network, I can’t imagine may others would.
In the end I managed to get it on its own network, which was fine but meant that each time I wanted to print something I’d have to switch out of my home internet network to join the printer’s internal one. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until I remind you that literally 99% of what I print is sourced from the internet.
Oh, the annoyance.
Not so with the Epson EcoTank (I’ve been trialling Epson model ET-4500, at Amazon with £20 off at £279.99). Within half an hour I’d set it up on my own wireless network, connected it to my phone line (it’s also a fax machine, how retro!) and tested the in-built scanner. The whole experience was totally pain-free, and despite it looking bulky it sits happily tucked away in my Monica Cupboard.
Perhaps the biggest excitement with this printer was setting up the internal ink tanks: the ink arrives in bottles and you fill it up yourself. I was worried this might be a messy job, but it was easy-peasy to do. It wasn’t so easy three days later when I emptied the bin and the bottles came cascading out over my feet… printer ink takes a good few days to be scrubbed from toes, I can tell you that now!
The print quality is amazing, I know that’s not such a worry these days with printer technology being what it is, but I’ve used it to print photographs on glossy paper and they are just gorgeous. Much improved on my last printer. So you can strike ‘expensive photo printing’ off your list of things to buy, too.
Huge thanks to Epson for sending me the ET-4500 to review: I’m over the moon that I can now have a happy 2 years of printing my documents and photographs without thinking about the prices of print cartridges. Isn’t technology wonderful?