Epson ET-2550 

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This is a three in one unit (no fax) it prints, scans and copies. With recent units this can not only be via a PC but also other devices via the WWW. It is unlikely to pass the lounge police so with Wi-Fi it can sit behind the sofa or even in a cupboard.

Epson Eco Tank ET 2550 Multifunction Printer
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The Epson ET-2550 measures 46.5cm wide, 41cm tall (with A4 paper inserted in the rear insert tray) and 42cm deep with input and output trays open, so this is nearly a cube. Apart from Wi-Fi you can also link it via USB.

Give yourself plenty of time and some old newspapers – not to read – to place under the unit as however careful you are a few drops of ink will spill and better on old newspaper than the carpet.

Having done this process before with recent Epson offerings and their ink bottles I kept an exact score of how long things took. 10 minutes to unpack and remove the tapes. 5 minutes to empty ink bottles into the tanks. 20 minutes for the initial charging cycle, 5 minutes for the software installation, so without snags around 40 minutes if you follow the multi-language installation guide. The total space taken on my hard disc 355MB.

On the front of the unit is a flip up flap that allows you to view the small screen in different positions. There are two buttons to the left of the screen On/Off and Home and two to the right as well as the ubiquitous five position joystick control to change details on the screen.

Each time you replace paper – face forward – in the rear input tray you are asked if the settings are the same IE plain paper. You can adjust size and type using the joystick control.

These days printing speeds are not a fantasy as all units have to use a set template for standard printing so whatever the website says should be achievable.

Printing A4 images on photo paper is often not included. First thing there is no borderless A4 mode so whatever you print will have a small border. I selected an image and printed in in Standard mode on plain paper it took 30 seconds. I then changed settings to Photo Paper and selected Best mode this took 300 seconds but speed is not that important with photographs, the image was rather good.

So what is the advantage of ink bottles mainly it reduces the cost of printing, the normal claim is that if you print as the unit was designed to be used then they should last for up to two years, then you just refill the tanks with replacement bottles. The design of the tanks and there right side fitting has improved since the early units and once the ink is in place there should be no spill danger.

Scanning can be implemented from either the unit or the PC. Copying does not require the PC to be connected and there are adjustments available on the unit.

At the bottom left of the front of the unit is an SD Card slot so photos can be printed direct from the unit again using the screen and the joystick control.

The current price of a set of four Eco Tank ink bottles is around £30. Currently this unit qualifies for a FREE three year warranty.

The Epson ET-2550 is available from Amazon priced, at the time of writing, at £231.90 with free delivery.

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