Very good one – This printer is easy to setup, provides great prints, and is economic in its ink use.
By David Catena July 18, 2017
I had an Epson CX7800 printer that I used for general text and photo printing plus the occasional photocopying. I was pleased with that printer except that it drank ink like a drunken sailor. After 10 years, it developed a serious smearing problem. It probably needed a new spittoon pad, but I figured it would cost more to repair than to replace it with a new printer.
I looked at Epson, Canon, and HP; all of which offered good quality and good pricing, but Epson was the only line that offered the Eco(nomy)Tank design. I bought the ET-2650 as it was the lowest cost model, and it offers the most streamlined design (note the tank access for the other models). I bought this printer two weeks ago and, so far, I simply love it! Note that this printer is really aimed at the home market, it may not be suitable for use as a shared office printer.
For instance, it can be simultaneously connected to one computer via a USB port and to any number of computers, smartphones, Kindles, etc. via WiFi. However, the printer lacks an Ethernet connection, so it cannot hang off a wired network. As well, the printer makes nice photocopies, producing hardcopy or PDF files, but it has no original feeder nor does it have a FAX capability. If these issues are important to you, you should look at the ET-3600 or higher.
Printer setup is a breeze. A “Start Here Installation Guide” hardcopy is provided with the printer, amounting to 4 pages of very specific instructions on how to install the printer. The instructions take you up to software installation, then hand you off to the instructions provided by the program. The instructions are specific, complete, easy to understand, and correct (what a concept!). If you run into a problem, they even provide a web site for chatting and a telephone number, should you need them. Epson also provides a “Quick Guide and Warranty” (8 pages, hardcopy) and a “User’s Guide” (204 pages, on disk). The User’s Guide is interesting to read after you’ve setup the printer and want to learn all of its ins-and-outs.
The only tricky part to setting up the printer is loading the ink for the first time. If you are used to snapping ink cartridges into place to ink a printer, you might find charging the ink to be unusual. If you have experience with charging toner to a photocopier, you will recognize the steps to charging the this printer’s ink. Basically, you pop the cover off the top of the ink tank, open the ink bottle, pour the second into the first, recap the tank, repeat for all the other colors (4 total).
Make sure to pour the correct color into the (plainly marked) correct tank! The printer comes with ink bottles containing enough to ink to fill all of the tanks. Pay attention, spilled ink will stain whatever it lands on. Once done filling the tanks, the printer moves onto “charging,” basically it fills its plumbing with ink to get ready to print.
The printer can be connected to multiple computers simultaneously (mine is connected to my desktop via USB and to two laptops and two Kindles via WiFi). The printer does not have an Ethernet connection. Connecting via a USB cable is mindlessly simple, though you will need to supply your own cable, be sure to get a printer USB cable, not a simple USB extension cable. Connecting to the WiFi is just a touch more tricky, I went through the procedure to install the printer on the WiFi network to connect the first device. After this initial setup, the software’s automatic procedure worked for the second laptop. Connecting Kindles is fully automatic. Making a photocopy is as simple as placing the original on the glass and pushing one button. Scanning to a PDF file is a little more complicated, but easy to do once you read the instructions.
So, how does the printer print? Great! It’s a little noisier than my previous printer, because it prints faster. Text is clean and well formed. Colors on plain paper are true, photos on plain paper are just so-so. But, photos on glossy photo paper are just gorgeous. I expect that a true photo printer would be better than this printer’s product, but true photo printers run to $1,000!
And how about the ink consumption? Well, I don’t actually know. After two weeks’ worth of daily printing and printing of dozens of photos at high quality, the tanks have yet to show a dent in their ink levels. By now, I’d be looking at preordering new ink cartridges for my old printer. I am very happy with this printer, I would buy it again!
Update – coming up on 1 full year of use of this printer, still loving it, absolutely no problems. I print a lot of photos (that’s my hobby), in sizes up to 8″ x 10″, full color. So, far, the ink tanks are still half full from the original charging in June, 2017! If I had been buying cartridges, I figure I would have used 3 sets of 4 different colors (12 x $30) just so far, so the Eco Tank design has paid for itself.