Introduction, Design, Features
The world has seen a significant increase in bulk-ink printers lately—and many of them, such as the $299.99-list, $249.99-street Expression ET-2750 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer we’re reviewing here, are built by Epson. The concept behind bulk-ink printers is (as everybody should know by now) that you pay more for the printer up front, at purchase time, to get lower per-page ink costs over the life of the machine.
Epson’s EcoTank all-in-one (AIO) printers, as you probably also know, forgo traditional ink cartridges for built-in reservoirs that you fill from inexpensive (by the page) bottles. Canon offers a handful of rival MegaTank AIOs, the closest to the ET-2750 being the Pixma G3200 MegaTank All-in-One Printer. Brother and HP, by contrast, stick with cartridge-based solutions. Brother’s INKvestment program simply charges more for the machine when you buy it and bundles several high-yield ink cartridges in the box. HP’s answer, the Instant Ink subscription program, sells you ink on a discounted basis if you commit to a set number of pages each month. (We’ll make a brief comparison of Epson’s EcoTank solution to these other bulk-ink solutions in the Cost Per Page section later in this review.)
This brings us back to the ET-2750, which is positioned at the lower end of a recent seven-machine release of EcoTank all-in-ones. The debut consisted of four of the company’s Expression AIOs, designed primarily for family and home office use, and three of Epson’s WorkForce AIOs, which are aimed more at small businesses. The other Expression EcoTank units are: the Expression ET-2700, which is, aside from a slightly lower price ($279.99 list) and feature list, very similar to the ET-2750, and the next model up, the Expression ET-3700Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank Supertank All-in-One Printer and the Expression Premium ET-7750 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank Printer. These last two Expression Premiums are special in that they are the first consumer-grade bulk-ink photo printers on the market; as such, they deliver significant savings on ink when printing photographs. In addition, the ET-7750 is a tabloid-size printer that allows you to print borderless photos (and other document types) up to 11 by 17 inches.
In any case, we could spend this entire article writing about the differences between these four new EcoTank printers, but this review is about the ET-2750. The primary difference between it and the next model down, the ET-2700, is that the latter doesn’t support SD memory cards, its control panel lacks a color graphics display, and it can’t print two-sided pages automatically.
The next model up, the ET-3700, features a larger LCD display (2.4 versus 1.4 inches), higher speed (15 versus 10 pages per minute), more ink in the box (14,000 monochrome pages versus 6,500), and borderless printing up to 8.5 by 11 inches (the ET-2750 supports only borderless 4 by 6-inch prints).
If nothing else, the field of EcoTank AIOs is diverse, with wide ranges of features and capacities between them. However, they all (from the lowest-volume ET-2700 to the highest capacity, wide-format ET-7750) have two important things in common: they all come with what Epson calls an “insane” amount of ink, and every one of them—no matter its rated capacity and price—delivers the same very low cost per page.
That includes the ET-2750. It’s a bit short on features for its price, but if you and your family use it as it’s designed (and use it often enough to take advantage of your additional ink), it should save your family a fair amount of money over the life of the printer.
While the differences between the ET-2750 and its ET-2650 predecessor are few, some are significant. Take, for example, placement of the EcoTank reservoirs and ink-level viewing windows, which Epson has moved from the right side of the chassis around to the right-front edge, as shown here (the ET-2750 is the one on the right)…
With the ink-viewing windows placed here, of course, it’s easier to see the four ink levels and when they need topping off. And, as we’ve pointed out a in a couple of other recent EcoTank reviews, this redesign makes the tanks look like part of the design instead of an afterthought. The ET-2750 measures 10.5 inches high by 14.8 inches across by 22 inches from front to back, and weighs just over 13 pounds, which is slightly smaller than the Canon G3200’s 6.5 by 17.6 by 13 inches (HWD) and 12.7 pounds. It should fit comfortably on most desktops.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and connecting to a single PC via USB. (Wi-Fi Direct is, of course, a peer-to-peer protocol for connecting your mobile devices to the printer without either it or them being connected to a network.) Aside from Wi-Fi Direct, other mobile connectivity options include Epson Connect App, Epson iPrint App (iOS and Android), Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Fire OS printing, and Mopria. You can also print from SD cards from the slot located on the left front side of the chassis, just to the left of the output tray, as shown here…
Missing on many of these lower-volume supertank machines, though, is an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner without manually shuffling pages onto the glass. To get an ADF on an EcoTank model, you’ll have to step up to the Epson WorkForce ET-3750 EcoTank All-in-One PrinterPixma G4200 MegaTank All-in-One PrinterINKvestment MFC-J775DW, too, comes with a small, 20-sheet ADF. The ET-3750 comes with a 30-sheet document feeder, compared to the G4200’s 20-sheet ADF. Both machines support Ethernet, fax, and a few other business-oriented features unavailable on the ET-2750.
The ET-2750’s control panel consists of a small non-touch color screen navigable by a standard four-key set of arrows with an OK button for executing commands. Aside from that, the other buttons on the panel are Power, Home, Help, Back, Refresh, Start (for copies and scans), and Cancel.
As you’d expect, the only thing that’s really different when setting up an EcoTank printer from any other inkjet AIO is filling the reservoirs. During our review of the last round of EcoTank models, one of our bigger complaints was that emptying the ink bottles into the reservoirs in the printer was awkward; even when using extreme caution, we invariably got ink in places we didn’t want it, including our desktop and fingers.
This time around, though, Epson has redesigned the ink bottles and their corresponding receptacles. Both now contain keyed, drip-proof fixtures. Now, you can simply upend a bottle and leave it standing upside down until the reservoir is full, as shown in the image below…
Even removing the bottle and up-righting it is drip-proof—a huge difference from previous EcoTank paraphernalia.
Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One Printer has running costs of 6.2 cents for monochrome pages and 17.6 cents for color pages.
Printing hundreds of pages each month with, say, a 5-cent difference in the cost per page can cost you plenty. If, for instance, you print 400 pages per month, paying an additional 5 cents per page to print them will cost you $20 each month. That’s $120 a year, $360 over three years, and so on.
Paper handling isn’t one of the ET-2750’s strong suits. You get one 100-sheet paper tray located on the back of the chassis, which can also be configured to hold 10 envelopes or 20 sheets of premium photo paper…
Printed pages land on a tray that pulls out from the front of the chassis, just below the control panel, as shown in the image above. During our tests, we printed and copied hundreds of pages without incident, just as we’d expect from an Epson AIO.