Your goal with every hardware purchase for your office is to increase productivity and decrease costs. The Epson EcoTank ET-5150 (coming soon) printer promises to deliver on both of those fronts, with increased speed, versatile functionality, and ink savings. I set this printer up as my home office print station and tested its various features. Here’s a look at what I found and how it performed.
Unboxing the Epson Ecotank ET-5150
The packaging of the Epson EcoTank ET-5150 was efficient and kept to a minimum. I was glad that there wasn’t an excess of plastic wrap covering every surface. The ink bottles arrive in vacuum-sealed plastic packages, but that’s necessary to guarantee the ink stays where it is supposed to. You won’t get an Ethernet or a USB cable included with the ET-5150. So if your office isn’t wireless yet, you’ll need to scrounge up your own cable.
Epson EcoTank ET-5150 setup
Filling the ink tanks
I was initially worried about dealing with bottles of ink. I can be a little sloppy at times, so I had visions of a catastrophic ink deluge. Thankfully, the ink bottles are designed in a way that you would have to put in considerable effort to make a mess. Each bottle has a unique top that only fits in the correct tank slot, so there won’t be any colour swap accidents.
You simply place the tip of the bottle into the corresponding tank slot and gravity does the rest. When the tank is full, the ink stops pouring. As long as you exercise reasonable caution (don’t squeeze the bottles!) you will avoid any mess.
Epson EcoTank ET-5150 initialization
I was not aware that inkjets used electrostatics to direct the ink droplets to their intended locations. When you power up the printer for the first time, it will need 11 minutes to electrostatically charge the ink. This has to happen whenever you fill or refill the ink tanks, so budget that small amount of downtime into your printing schedule when you run low on ink.
Setting up the Epson Smart Panel app
The Epson Smart Panel app allows you to print directly from your mobile device. And that makes a lot of sense, since mobile devices are a prominent part of our modern workflow. The app installation is quick and simple. I was able to connect with the printer in seconds, without having to navigate any manual settings or configurations. It also allows you to print from Google Classroom, so your remote learner can print their assignments directly to your home office printer.
Epson Ecotank ET-5150 features
This is the big feature of the EcoTank line of Epson printers. Instead of closed ink cartridges that need to be thrown out and replaced each time they run out of ink, the Epson EcoTank ET-5150 has refillable ink tanks. This reduces the amount of printer-related waste significantly: One set of ink bottles equates to 80 ink cartridges. And this reduces your operating costs over the lifespan of the printer by up to 90%.
The Epson EcoTank ET-5150 can scan at a respectable 1200 x 3200 DPI, and can enhance the scan via software to 9600 DPI. This is more than sufficient for most office documentation, and the images that I scanned all came through clear.
As a cheapskate, I have lived with exclusively black and white printing for years. But being able to print in colour is appealing enough that I may make the switch. The colours produced by the Epson EcoTank ET-5150 are bright and of professional quality.
The Epson EcoTank ET-5150 comes with the Epson Photo+ software, which allows you to create a variety of photo layouts and sizes. You can just print a photo directly, but the Photo+ adds an impressive amount of design versatility. I used it to throw together a photo collage of the family, and it was a quick and easy process.
Printing from your mobile device
Once I started using the Epson Smart Panel app, it was a revelation. I was so used to copying photos and documents from my phone to my PC to print. Now I could skip the middle man and communicate directly from phone to printer. The document capture ability was especially handy. I took a picture of a document using the app, adjusted the image, and printed it out.
Voice activated printing
You ask Alexa to help you out with various tasks. Now you can add printing to the list of her services. The Epson Connect software allows you to issue printer commands to Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant. I don’t use voice commands as much as some folks do, but this was simple to set up and use.
PrecisionCore heat-free technology
The Epson EcoTank ET-5150 uses a heat-free ink transferal process. This has a number of benefits, like reduced energy consumption and faster printing. And the lack of heat reduces the stress on the printer, lengthening its lifespan.
You can scan documents and send them directly to an email address or to a cloud storage solution like Dropbox, without using a PC. This is convenient when the goal is to share a scanned document with your remote team, or sending a scan of a signed document to a client.
Variable paper sizes
The Epson EcoTank ET-5150 can accept a range of paper sizes in its paper tray. So, your project can use the appropriate size of paper. One caveat I would add is to keep track of what size of paper is in the tray. You wouldn’t want to accidentally print a text document onto photo paper, or print a photo on the wrong size of paper. Make sure to communicate with the other users in the office (or home) about what paper is in the printer.
Epson EcoTank ET-5150 summary
The Epson EcoTank ET-5150 (coming soon) is a capable, supertank/multifunction printer that delivers on the promise of affordable and reliable office printing. The photo printing capability expands the printer’s usefulness, and I found it to be a great solution for a shared home office and household printer. The ability to easily print from my phone was a welcome feature, and one that made me consider upgrading my old printer.