Epson's Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer

Print photos and documents at a fraction of the cost

Epson's Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer
Epson's Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer. Photo Courtesy of Epson

I’ve complained more than once about the high per-page cost of ink incurred from today’s consumer-grade photo printers, such as Canon’s photo-centric Pixmas (the Pixma MG6820 comes to mind) and Epson’s Expression Premium XP-520 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer. Epson has addressed this issue, at least partially, with the recent release of its EcoTank brand of AIO printers. > Tech > Printers / Scanners looked at a business oriented EcoTank model, the $499 WorkForce ET-4550 All-in-One, a little while back. Today we’re looking at an entry-level family and home-based-office EcoTank model, the $399 Expression ET-2550 All-in-One EcoTank Printer, which is, in terms of volume and productivity and convenience features, a couple levels below the ET-4550. As with any of these EcoTank models, the ET-2550 is nothing more than an earlier entry-level Expression model with supertanker ink tanks attached to the side.

Design and Features

My first objection to the ET-2550 is its lack of an automatic document feeder, or ADF. You probably want an AIO for its versatility, right? Well, an all-in-one without an ADF is a lot less versatile, as you are otherwise forced to feed document originals to the scanner bed one sheet at a time—a very slow and cumbersome process.

Aside from that, though, the ET-2550’s comes with a respectable number of mobile connectivity and other features. You can, for example, print directly from your camera’s SD cards via a slot on the side of the chassis. The printer’s 1.44-inch display comes in handy when printing images from SD cards, cloud sites (many are supported), network drives, and other PC-free tasks, but we did find it a bit small and cramped when trying to execute commands with our fingers.

You can also connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop directly to your printer, without an intermediary network or router, with Wi-Fi Direct.

Performance, Paper Handling, Print Quality

According to PCMag (Ziff-Davis), the ET-2550 churns out about 2.6 pages per minute, which is slow, though not so much so for an entry-level printer. It’s Okay for an occasional-use printer like this one, but sluggish just the same. Its paper handling entails a single drawer that can hold up to 100 sheets of copy paper or 10 sheets of photo paper or envelopes.

Aside from its super low cost per page discussed next, print quality is the ET-2550’s next best claim to fame, especially its photos. During my tests, it also churned out excellent-looking pics, considering that it uses only four inks.

Cost Per Page

Were you to buy the non-EcoTank version of this printer and buy cartridges as needed, black-and-white pages would most likely run between 5 and 7 cents each, and color prints upwards of 15 cents each, which is about right for a low-end family-oriented printer. With EcoTank, for this particular printer you get enough ink, according to Epson, to print 4,000 monochrome pages and 6,500 color pages—enough, again, according to Epson, to last for up to 2 years. That’s 167 monochrome pages and/or  271 color pages per month.  Better yet, though, is the cost per page, which comes out to well under 1 cent for black-and-white pages and right around 1 cent for color pages.

Better yet, when it comes time to replace the four ink bottles, one costs $12.99 and all four about $52. That $52 gets you another 4K of monochrome pages and 6.5K of color pages—once again, at an incredibly low cost per page,

The End

To understand the benefits of EcoTank requires a different mentality than the traditional buy-ink-as-you-go mindset. Granted, you spend a little more money up front (or a lot more, depending on your perspective), but for doing so, you get ink at unheard-of per-page low prices for the life of the printer.