A barely increased buy price is traded towards low price per web page printing. Nonetheless, the ET-3850 is slightly flimsy in locations. And whereas it could actually duplex print, sadly, it could actually’t duplex copy. Higher than the ET-4700 in lots of respects, this is a perfect answer for people who need to scale back printing overheads dramatically.
Finest Costs At this time: Epson EcoTank ET-3850
Epson was one of many first printer makers to contemplate another path, given the comprehensible public notion of cartridge-based ink printers. It’s EcoTank idea front-loads the fee by making the printer marginally dearer however reduces the general price of printing through the use of a refillable reservoir.
Unsurprisingly, these printers are extremely fascinating for people who print in important numbers, particularly in color, as they supply extra prolonged durations between replenishment whereas sustaining the prime quality of the output.
Epson’s newest design is the ET-3850, a compact 4 pigment EcoTank design with an inbuilt ADF (automated doc feeder) priced and specified for the house workplace person.
On paper, this mannequin seems to be higher in some respects than a number of the dearer fashions made completely for enterprise customers. Can the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 ship the most effective mixture of options for the fee to make it the Eco Tank design to rule all of them in 2022?
Design & Construct
Compact plastic chassis
Discovered ink tanks
ADF on high
As multifunction printers go, the ET-3850 is small at simply 375 x 347 x 231 mm (Width x Depth x Top), with the printing path being entrance to again, and the ADF doc scanning is sideways.
Weighing solely 6.7kg earlier than ink or paper is added, most adults ought to be capable to relocate this printer with out help. It may well join on to a pc utilizing USB, by way of the community utilizing Wi-Fi or Ethernet LAN, making few limitations about the place the printer might be located.
As Epson has progressed with its EcoTank designs, it’s refined them successively, and the ET-3850 reveals the way it’s honed the workflow round these high-volume machines.
Mark Pickavance / Foundry
But it surely has additionally eliminated what is likely to be thought-about further issues in the way in which that the printer handles paper. For instance, all paper is positioned in a 250-sheet tray on the very backside as a result of there isn’t a guide feed. Epson does make extra pricey EcoTank designs with a number of 250-sheet trays and guide feeds, however they’re dearer.
All printing controls are on a tilt-adjustable entrance panel with a tiny 5×4 cm display screen. At this scale, it was by no means going to be a contact panel, and all menu choices are chosen utilizing a management cluster to the proper of it.
The printer’s high hosts the ADF (auto doc feeder) for scanning or copying a number of sheets. It may well settle for 30 pages and scan 1200 x 2400dpi (Horizontal x Vertical) at roughly 5 pages per minute.
The Ink reservoirs are on the entrance proper, with the degrees of ink clearly seen from the surface. So as to add ink, the scanner cowl should be raised, adopted by one other cowl to disclose the filling level.
Mark Pickavance / Foundry
Total, this can be a easy however efficient design that focuses on what most customers will need from this printer, but it surely isn’t probably the most strong building I’ve skilled. Elements of the surface are constituted of remarkably skinny plastic, and the ADF will even bend if even a comparatively light-weight object is positioned on it.
For dwelling customers, this shouldn’t be a problem if the proprietor is cautious, however the flimsy nature of this mannequin most likely makes it unsuitable to be used in an workplace.
It’s doable to configure the ET-3850 straight utilizing the small menu show, however the easiest strategy is to attach a PC with a USB cable. It can be accessed for printing or scanning by way of a pc over a community or the Epson Sensible Panel software for Android or iOS gadgets. It additionally has a direct Wi-Fi performance for cellular gadgets.
Included with the printer is a CD containing the Home windows and Mac OS purposes that allow printing, scanning and copying from a pc. These are price putting in if solely to replace the firmware on the ET-3850 to the most recent launch – when you have a CD drive anyway.
The one a part of the set-up course of that Epson may be very explicit about is the ink set up. With the primary filling cycle, a number of the ink must enter the printer’s priming system. The ink held within the printer ought to by no means be exhausted, as air would possibly trigger the ink to dry in these inside pathways.
Mark Pickavance / Foundry
Epson deserves some credit score for the ink bottles that include the printer, in each their design and the way a lot ink you get from the outset. Included with the ET-3850 are Epson 102 dye in Yellow, Cyan and Magenta, all in 70ml bottles, and there are additionally two black pigment bottles, every with 127 ml inside.
That’s sufficient color ink to fill all of the tanks and one other full fill for the black pigment. That a lot ink represents 14,000 pages of black printing (assuming a 5% protection) and 5,200 pages of color output.
The period of half-filled carts and different customer-unfriendly choices isn’t a part of the EcoTank era. Epson alternative ink can also be comparatively cheap for the variety of pages a bottle can generate.
For these questioning about spillage, the ink bottles include particularly designed nozzles that don’t launch ink into its plugged into the printer, and keyed nozzles make it theoretically unattainable to place the flawed ink into any tank.
As soon as the ink is absolutely loaded, the printer goes by a ten-minute course of the place it attracts ink into the printer prepared to be used, after which it proceeds with a print alignment routine. Bear this in thoughts if you should print one thing urgently.
Mark Pickavance / Foundry
The EcoTank ET-3850 makes use of the Epson PrecisionCore print head system acquainted to lots of the higher Epson Eco Tank designs. With 400 nozzles for black and 128 for color, it could actually generate output at a formidable 4800 x 1200dpi.
Epson describes this mannequin as ‘duplex’, which means it could actually print on either side of a sheet of paper. However there’s a caveat to this capacity in respect of the scanner as what it could actually’t do is take a bit of paper that has printing on either side and duplicate that, because the ADF can solely scan one aspect.
There are methods round this by both scanning and printing one aspect and sending the print job by once more with the supply reorganised. Or you possibly can do two scanning sequences after which interleave the pages into one PDF after which print that in a single operation utilizing the duplex mode.
Neither of those options is ideal, and if that is one thing you do recurrently, then the ET-3850 most likely isn’t the printer for you.
As much as 15.5ppm
As much as 2400dpi scanning
Borderless printing has limits
The cheaper Epson EcoTank designs use a Micro Piezo print head that limits the pace of printing, however the PrecisionCore design used within the ET-3850 is superior and usually reserved for the dearer machines.
The quoted pace below ISO/IEC 24734 is 15.5 pages a minute monochrome and eight.5 pages in color, although utilizing the draft mode, the product specs declare as much as 33 pages per minute in mono.
In my very own exams, I despatched 5 mono pages in good high quality with 5% protection, and the primary one got here out inside seconds and the opposite 4 inside 30 seconds, roughly. Over longer print runs, the printer edged as much as round ten pages per minute, and in draft mode, it could actually obtain practically double that.
Duplex printing is sluggish and makes use of barely much less intense colors, largely to permit for the ink on the primary aspect to be absolutely absorbed earlier than it assaults the second, however this can be a normal difficulty with inkjets and nothing surprising.
The standard of the prints is usually excellent, though it may very well be higher at reproducing images if Epson didn’t use the black pigment in these jobs, because it impacts the looks of darkish photos. Nonetheless, even with low-cost photocopy inventory, the paperwork and copies it outputs are very sharp and clear.
Total, the print high quality is excessive, and the pace is greater than acceptable for normal workplace use.
Amazingly low-cost per web page
third social gathering ink out there
No limitless ink choices
For people who have by no means skilled a tank printer, the way in which this works and the fee per print is one thing of a revelation.
For starters, the printer comes with sufficient pigment (black) and dye (color) to print 14,000 and 5,200 pages of 5% protection with no extra funding required. When you’ve exhausted that, and a few dwelling customers would possibly wrestle, particular person colors and full units might be purchased to refill the tanks.
To make clear, the ink that comes with the printer is similar as that offered for refilling. However some is used within the preliminary priming of the system, decreasing what’s out there to print. With subsequent refills, this reserve doesn’t play an element, because the printer is already primed.
Mark Pickavance / Foundry
The official Epson EcoTank 102 Real Multipack Ink Bottles price £37.99 within the UK. These in America have a barely totally different notation, because the ET-3850 offered there makes use of Epson 502 inks, priced at $47.29. Particular person colors or blacks might be purchased, a black being round $15, and every color about $11.
At official ink costs, a set of each black and color inks has the potential for a complete of seven,500 pages of black and 6,000 of color. That works out at 13,500 pages for £37.99 or $47.29, or a per web page overhead of lower than a 3rd of 1 UK penny or 0.35 of a US cent.
For those who examine that with typical cartridge printing princes of 5p a web page or much more, Eco Tank output is considerably cheaper, and the starter pack is definitely price one other £50 or $60 in consumable prices.
Mark Pickavance / Foundry
Nonetheless, as no cartridge chip management is concerned with these inks, there are many third-party suppliers who will provide a set of supposedly appropriate inks for as little as £13 within the UK and $21 within the US. The draw back of those is that you simply don’t know what you’re getting by way of high quality, and getting the inks into the tanks normally requires fiddly syringes.
These keen to probability it is going to scale back ink prices to a stage the place the true expense of printing isn’t the ink however the paper.
The one disappointment for official ink customers is that Epson doesn’t supply its Epson ReadyPrint possibility of limitless ink provide for a month-to-month payment on this product, whereas the very related EcoTank ET-4850 mannequin can use ReadyPrint.
Value & Availability
As I’ve already talked about, EcoTank printers include loads of ink, and the price of use is low. To counterbalance this, Epson made the printer comparatively costly in comparison with a typical cartridge design of the same specification.
The RRP within the UK has dropped rapidly from £429.99 to £379.99, and you’ll simply discover it for much less. Purchase it from Amazon, Argos, Very, Field, Currys, Ebuyer, AO and Laptops Direct.
The value within the USA is $449.99 and you should buy the printer from Epson, Amazon, Staples and BestBuy.
The direct competitor for the Epson EcoTank vary is the Canon Pixma G Sequence machines, with the closest priced product being the Canon Pixma G7020.
It presents the identical print/scan/copy design, the identical output decision, and the same ink tank idea for nearly an identical prices within the US. But it surely has a Fax, a bigger capability paper tray and a guide enter path.
Within the UK, the Canon is cheaper, at round £299, although the quoted print pace is properly under that of the ET-3850 at simply 13 pages per minute in mono and 6.8 pages in color. Canon ink is marginally cheaper at round £12.50 for black and £9 for color refills.
Whereas the G7020 is an effective bit heavier than the ET-3850, suggesting it has higher construct high quality, it additionally solely comes with a single-year guarantee and 5,000 pages per 30 days use cycle.
See our chart of the most effective printers to see extra choices.
This printer is a slap within the face to anybody nonetheless utilizing and paying for cartridge printing. It produces high-quality output at an affordable pace for a fraction of a penny per web page for regular protection. And, even full web page A4 color printing isn’t that costly, at about 7p or $0.08 per web page.
The draw back is that the upfront price of the printer is increased than regular, and Epson hasn’t made the ET-3850 with lengthy operational life in thoughts.
That it solely presents a one-year guarantee and/or 50,000 pages, strongly suggesting that if you happen to use it closely, you received’t be getting by many ink refills earlier than it has potential wear-and-tear difficulty.
For much less demanding volumes, this is probably not a problem. However these in enterprise that need the low price per web page however over a few years want to contemplate a few of Epson’s EcoTank designs which can be completely for enterprise use.
It’s price saying that every one the EcoTank designs which can be classed as being for dwelling places of work and companies solely have a single yr of guarantee, though the dearer ones are below guarantee as much as 150,000 pages in that first yr.
The opposite important weaknesses of this design are that it’s flimsy and doesn’t supply duplex scanning alongside duplex printing. The duplex difficulty may need been solvable with software program, however Epson prefers to promote WorkForce branded designs with that function.
What’s good concerning the ET-3850 is that it has an nearly an identical specification to the dearer ET-4850, together with the identical print pace and PrecisionCore print head, and it’s superior to the cheaper ET-4800 mannequin in practically each respect.
What it isn’t very best for is photograph printing, however Epson has six color EcoTank designs constructed for that job.
Total, it could be good if this printer had a greater construct high quality and duplex scanning. However even with out these items, it’s a dramatic enchancment in price per web page that elevates it above any inkjet that makes use of cartridges, and customers might be much less involved about what the doc they’ve will price to print.
In the end, the ET-3850 won’t be excellent news for bushes, but it surely’s a compelling story for people who purchase cartridges frequently.
Color inkjet all-in-one printer, copier, scanner
Ink sort: Pigment and Dye tank fill
Print decision: 4800 x 1200dpi (color and black)
Scan decision: 1200 x 2400dpi
Most paper measurement: A4 (plain), 13 x 18 cm (shiny)