Printing isn’t the best thing when it comes to the environment. If you take a minute to think about the process, you’re taking a tree, chopping it down, and using large amounts of energy to stain the resulting paper with indelible ink, all to show your mate the first three pages of that new novel you’ve been working on in your spare time.
It’s the same with any modern consumption, but luckily, some brands are developing ways of curbing the negative effects. For a more eco-friendly approach to printing, Epson has a great range of ecotank printers that use cartridge-free ink tanks, leading to a more efficient printing process that’s not only better for the planet, but also for your wallet.
The ecotank design is found in a wide range of models – and at a wide range of prices – but towards the base end of the collection is the ET-2710. It’s a three-in-one, multifunctional printer, offering wireless print, copy and scan capability. So far, so classic. What’s slightly less classic, however, is the price: for its specs, the mid £100 tag seems a little steep. Epson promises that this initial outlay pales into comparison when looking at the long-term financial benefits of owning an ecotank. We put the ET-2710 to the test to see if we’d be swapping to the greener side of printing any time soon.
How we tested
We tested the ET-2710 on print speed and quality, ease of setting up, tech specs, ink usage and general look and feel. We always test our products with one main question in mind: will we still approve of the product in a year’s time, or will we be on the lookout for a replacement?
Epson EcoTank ET-2710
Printer type: Inkjet, refillable tank
Printing speed: 10 pages/min monochrome, 5 pages/min colour
Input/output capacity: 100/30
Connectivity: Wifi, USB
This is a compact, good-looking machine, but still has space for 100 pages in the input tray and 30 printed pages in the output tray. All of Epson’s ecotank printers use inkjet technology as opposed to laser, which both saves energy (and cuts down on heat) and produces quicker printed pages, needing no initial heating in the process.
There’s no screen, which makes life a little less straightforward, and double-sided printing is a manual effort, but the Epson iPrint app offers a neat, simple experience that helps you with most tasks. It also means that the print speed can be ramped up a notch while sticking to the printer’s lower price. For an ecotank with a screen, go for the ET-2710’s slightly pricier screened relative, the ET-2720 (£179.99, Currys.co.uk).
The refillable ink tanks, neatly placed at the front right of the printer, aren’t just a decorative addition: Epson says that by using tanks instead of notoriously expensive cartridges, users can save up to 90 per cent on ink costs, and the tanks can hold the equivalent of 72 cartridges’ worth of ink. The process of filling up the tanks is easy and oddly satisfying: the resealable and drip-free ink bottles that come with the printer have heads that fit only with the corresponding colour tank, meaning no dropped stomach when you realise you’ll now have to put up with a yellow-tinged cyan for the rest of the printer’s lifetime.
Turning the bottle upside down, it connects neatly with the tank and stops automatically when the tank is full, with no need for squeezing. The see-through front to each tank is a vital indicator for when ink is running low but also serves to add a spot of colour to the sleek, black colour way of the printer. Once the ink is in, there’s enough to produce up to 4,500 pages in mono and 7,500 pages in colour.
While the ET-2710 is more expensive than other base-level multifunctional printers, this means that the regular home user probably won’t need to even consider a refill for at least a couple of years, making this easy value for money. The ink tank design looks good, helps protect the planet, and saves you an absolute bundle on cartridges. Full marks from us.
There’s always a risk that when a brand tries to improve one facet of its performance, another falls by the wayside. Happily, the ET-2710 manages to save on ink while producing just as good printing capability. The print quality and speed are at least on a par with any other printer at the price point (and above), and colour prints are especially vibrant. The ET-2710 is easy to set up, with the clean app doing most of the work for you. It’s a no-frills app, with options for printing documents and photos via wifi or printing directly from the Cloud. You can also scan, capture documents or print copies.
The ET-2710 does all of the basics well and without a lot of fuss, with a consistent connection and clean print that comes out at around 10 mono pages per minute. Larger photos take quite a bit longer, though, so definitely have other things to do when you press print on that nice landscape shot of you at the Grand Canyon. However, with hardly any quality sacrificed for more efficient and eco-friendly ink usage, more printers should be moving in this direction.
Epson sells the ET-2710 with an optional Unlimited Printing card for around an extra £80, meaning that when you run out of ink, you simply tell Epson and more will be delivered straight to you for the first two years of ownership. A full set of four compatible bottles usually costs between £23 and £35, and a single bottle £7-£10, so unless you’re planning on printing out every webpage you see, it might be best to buy the bottles separately, as the ink that comes with the printer is likely to last you well into the first 24 months.
The verdict: Epson ecotank ET-2710
The Epson EcoTank is what all printer manufacturers should aspire to. It’s by no means perfect –after all, printing will never be an activity that is positive for the planet – but when it comes to cutting down on waste, the EcoTank has made a great start for the industry.
The ET-2710 is a basic model, with no screen making it less useful for certain tasks and general use, but it does the basics without hassle, and the Epson app is a streamlined delight. It’s priced at the high end for its print quality and isn’t the cheapest model in the range, but this is an initial outlay that will be paid back with interest through its incredible ink saving potential, while giving you a good level of printing power.
However, it’s not just an inky novelty: this is a solid printer that performs everyday tasks perfectly, produces good and pretty quick prints, and will save you a small fortune on cartridges in the long run. The entire ecotank range, such as the ET-2720 and ET-2750 all the way up to the high-end, sophisticated (see: pricy) ET-8550, has found the next step in printer ink usage, both for the planet and your pocket. The ecotank model is how the industry should be looking at the future of printing.
Buy now £165.90, Cartridgepeople.com
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