Published on December 2nd, 2015 | by Greg0
Epson WorkForce ET-4550: Print Without Worrying About Ink
Since the dawn of small office and home office printing, there has always been an issue- finding enough ink. How often have you gone to print a document, only to run out of one color or another while you’re simply trying to finish your presentation or thesis? Printer ink can be the most expensive liquid substance you have in your home, and it can be tough to find just the right cartridge when you need one. Today’s printer completely changes the conventional wisdom, upending even the core business model that has been the foundation of inexpensive printers (but costly ink).
The Epson WorkForce ET-4550 is part of the company’s new EcoTank line, hence the ET designation. This all-in-one model comes with up to two years of ink in the box, enough to print up to 11,000 black or 8500 color pages, equivalent to about 50 ink cartridge sets. And if, heaven forbid, your ink should run low sometime then the tanks are easy to refill. Like most modern multi-function printers, you can print, scan, copy, or fax from the unit, and also connect to your mobile devices to print from smartphones or tablets, plus print two-sided and connect via wired or wireless.
The ET-4550 is definitely an unusual addition to your workspace. It offers a reasonably sized automatic document feeder (30 pages) and a fairly big paper tray (150 pages) for a home printer though limited paper handling options for a true office companion. More importantly, it is fairly slow for an office printer, running at 13 ISO ppm in black and white or about 7 pages per minute in color, and a little loud for a home model. Real-world tests produced some pretty high-quality examples of text though, with contrast and details competitive with laser, but graphics were not quite as impressive. Printouts were definitely slower to come out than we were used to and we previously alluded to the size of the printer- it’s fairly big, with a footprint that will take up quite a bit of space on your desk, largely due to the voluminous ink tanks on the side.
We’ve seen a variety of different Epson models over the years, and we definitely appreciated the move towards a lower total cost of ownership, important for any business, big or small. The base price might cause sticker shock for those unprepared, but it reflects the fact you probably won’t need to buy ink cartridges for a very long time. For those who print quite a bit and are willing to pay a higher upfront cost for a better deal over thousands of pages, the EcoTank is pretty exciting. The prints themselves, the interface, and the rest of the features aren’t groundbreaking, but the ET is a convenient and successful first-generation product that improves the user experience in a very important way. The WorkForce ET-4550 might just save your Christmas, and is available now, online and in stores, for around $499.