Printing photos at home can be both enjoyable and rewarding, but it often comes with a high price tag. However, Epson’s EcoTank printers have set out to change that by offering high-efficiency, refillable ink tanks. As an avid photographer looking for a more affordable printing solution, I recently purchased the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 printer, and I must say, I have been thoroughly impressed with its performance.
A Pro-Level Alternative:
Before diving into the details of the ET-8550, it’s important to note that if you’re seeking the absolute best print quality, you might want to consider Epson’s SureColor pro-level printers. As an owner of two high-end Epson printers, including the SureColor P800, I can attest to their fantastic output. However, the drawback lies in the high cost of ink, which can quickly add up. In contrast, the ET-8550, priced at $700, comes with a full set of ink tanks and offers replacement sets for under $100, promising up to 80% savings on ink costs. After several months of use, I can confidently say that Epson’s claims hold true, as I have yet to require new ink despite printing numerous photos in various sizes.
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Epson EcoTank ET-8550 Specs
The Epson 8550 boasts several notable features, making it an attractive option for amateur photographers looking to print at home without compromising on quality or breaking the bank. Here are some key specifications of the printer:
Prints up to 13 x 19 borderless photos
Utilizes 6-color refillable ink tanks, including black, photo black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and gray
Uses Claria ET photographic dye inks
Offers a print resolution of up to 5,760 x 1,440 dpi
Can produce borderless 4 x 6 photos in as little as 15 seconds
Supports mobile and wireless printing, including Apple AirPrint, Android printing, and Amazon Alexa
Equipped with a full-color 4.3-inch touchscreen
Includes a scanner capable of full-color scanning at 4,800 dpi
Features multiple media loading slots and supports thicker fine art paper (up to 1.3mm thick)
Compatible with both macOS and Windows operating systems
Dimensions: 523 x 379 x 169mm (storage) and 523 x 758 x 430mm (printing)
Weighs 11.1 kg (24.5 lbs)
List price: $799, but can be found for $699
Design and Usability:
The Epson ET-8550 showcases a sleek and modern design with a predominantly white exterior and a black accent around its touchscreen and ink tank reservoir. Despite its ability to print up to 13″ x 19″ photos, the printer’s compact size, measuring 523mm (20.6 in.) wide, allows it to fit comfortably on most desks or small tables. The 4.3″ tilting touchscreen serves as the primary interface, and I found it to be responsive and user-friendly. Setting up the printer was a breeze, thanks to the well-designed app that provides step-by-step guides for initialization and various printing tasks. Additionally, the printer supports wireless printing and comes with an accompanying smartphone app, enabling convenient wireless printing directly from your mobile device. Although I primarily used Adobe Photoshop with a wired USB connection, I also had a positive experience with wireless printing from my phone.
Overall, the Epson EcoTank ET-8550 offers a compelling option for amateur and enthusiast photographers who want to print their photos at home without breaking the bank. The printer’s standout feature is its efficiency and low ink costs. With a full set of ink bottles included in the package and the ability to print thousands of photos before needing a refill, the ET-8550 provides significant savings compared to traditional ink cartridges.
In terms of print quality, while the Epson 8550 doesn’t quite match the professional-level output of Epson’s SureColor printers, it comes impressively close. The prints exhibit sharpness, vibrant colors, and smooth tonal transitions, making them visually appealing. Black and white prints, in particular, turn out well, with accurate gray tones and good contrast.
Setting up the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 is relatively straightforward, thanks to the accompanying mobile app and an intuitive touchscreen interface. The printer offers wireless printing capabilities and includes a scanner, adding to its versatility. However, there are some minor quirks and annoyances, such as the finicky paper feeds and unclear instructions.
One area where the Epson 8550 falls slightly short is color accuracy. While the prints look good overall, there is a tendency for colors to be slightly over-saturated. For most users, this won’t be a significant issue, but perfectionists might notice the deviation from strict accuracy.
In terms of cost, the ET-8550 carries a higher upfront price tag compared to other home printers. This upfront cost may deter those who don’t print frequently or need to produce large-format prints. It will take a considerable number of prints to recoup the initial investment. However, the long-term savings on ink costs can make up for this over time, especially for users who print regularly.
To summarize, the Epson EcoTank ET-8550 is a solid choice for amateur and enthusiast photographers who want to print their photos at home affordably. It offers excellent print quality, wireless capabilities, and efficient refillable ink tanks that significantly reduce ongoing ink costs. While it may not match the output of professional printers, the ET-8550 delivers satisfactory results for most users. However, if you require larger prints or prioritize absolute color accuracy, you may need to consider higher-end options.
Also, Read Epson EcoTank ET-2720 All-in-One Printer Review.