Ink Tanks For Everyone
While laser printers are generally cheaper when it comes to the printing cost per page, inkjet printers are better at printing documents with colored images and graphics, as well as
photo prints. Of course, while most entry-level and midrange inkjet printers don’t cost very much up front, replacement ink cartridges typically don’t come cheap.
To address the problem of expensive ink replacements, Epson has come up with an ink tank system designed to be cost effective. The Epson L550 is an all-in-one ink tank system printer; it comes with detachable ink tanks which are refillable (with ink from Epson, obviously). Each refill prints up to 4,000 pages and goes for $7 per bottle, making high volume printing more affordable in the long run.
The unit itself is a hefty piece of equipment despite being relatively smaller than previous iterations. The area it eats up is justified, however, due to the well spaced controls and the amount of ink the printer can carry.
The L550 also comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF) that makes it easier to scan, copy, and fax multi-page documents. Unfortunately, the printer doesn’t come with a duplexer, so printing double-sided documents requires you to manually flip the pages over afterwards. With the Epson iPrint app (available on both Android and iOS), you can print photographs, PDF files, and documents from various cloud storage services like Google Docs, Evernote, and
Dropbox. But as the L550 doesn’t have built-in Wifi, you will have to connect it to a router before you can proceed with remote printing.
Where print speeds are concerned, the L550 isn’t very fast, with a ten-page monochrome print job taking one minute and 10 seconds, which equates to about nine pages per minute. Monochrome text prints are reasonably sharp, making it suitable for internal documents, though some might find it insufficient for business documents. The L550 doesn’t fare so well when it comes to documents with colored graphics and images, as colors are washed out and images are a bit blurred. This is the obvious trade-off for the good monochrome text quality.
Overall, the L550 does provide good value for money thanks to its ink tank system, so it’s up to the user to decide if that’s worth the price Epson is asking for. It helps that the printer already comes with four bottles of ink (CMYK) and two additional black ink bottles. If high yields are your priority, then this is the printer to go for.
AT A GLANCE
AiO Ink Tank System
5760 x 1440dpi
OPTICAL SCANNER RESOLUTION
1200 x 2400dpi
Black and White, Color