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Epson EcoTank ET-M2140 review: A little unprofessional

Expert Reviews Staff
20 Dec 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
310
Inc VAT

Epson has built an inkjet to beat cheap mono laser MFPs, but it’s lacking some key features

Pros 
Low running costs
Low wastage
Good printing speeds
Cons 
Lacking in crucial features
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Epson’s Ecotank inkjet printers ditch cartridges in favour of refillable ink tanks, reducing hassle and plastic waste while dramatically cutting running costs. Until recently the range included only home devices, but the ET-M2140 is one of three models introduced earlier this year that target small businesses and home offices. Mono only, it’s ready to pick a fight with entry-level mono laser MFPs, while the ET-M1100 (USB-only) and ET-M1120 (USB and Wi-Fi) are gunning for single-function mono laser printers.

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Epson EcoTank ET-M2140 review: Features and running costs

At this price you might expect a few bells and whistles, but the ET-M2140 is surprisingly basic. There’s a 250-sheet paper input tray, and it can duplex-print on both sides of a page, but there’s no automatic document feeder, so multipage copies can be a pain. There’s no fax modem or network connection, just USB, and there’s no port at the front for walk-up prints or scans. The basic control panel comprises a colour screen and clicky membrane buttons. This is smart and uncluttered, but at first the menu functions take some second-guessing.

Even allowing for the initial 10-minute priming, Epson says the supplied ink will last around 11,000 pages; you’d be lucky to get 2,000 in the box with an equivalent laser. Replacement ink bottles are rated for 6,000 pages and cost just £12, so ongoing costs are a paltry 0.2p per page, which is roughly a quarter of what we’d expect from the best mono lasers, and more than 15 times cheaper than the worst.

The ET-M2140 is an adequate scanner, capturing an A4 page in 11 seconds at 150dpi, or 26 seconds at 300dpi. It reached 20ppm when printing our 25-page text test, and 15.2ppm with complex greyscale graphics – more than a match for cheap mono lasers. Its duplex speed of 7.5ipm isn’t stellar, but it’s good to have the feature regardless. Unfortunately, we found it tricky to retrieve printed pages from this MFP’s back-to-front output tray.

Other than black text, mono laser printers don’t usually set a high bar for print quality. The ET-M2140 arguably produced better graphics and photos; certainly they were free of banding and other artefacts. Black text is crisp right down to tiny font sizes, but most laser printers would win here. Scans and photocopies are more than good enough for office work.

Epson EcoTank ET-M2140 review: Verdict

All in all, the EcoTank ET-M2140 genuinely competes with cheap mono laser printers for speed and quality, and it trounces any laser when it comes to running costs. Many might blanch at its huge premium over true competitors such as HP’s LaserJet Pro M28w, but if you bought that particular MFP and spent the change from Epson’s asking price on toner, you’d still run out at around 10,000 pages. The ET-M2140, remember, has the capacity for 11,000 already in the box.

However, we still think the ET-M2140 is too basic to be a truly great professional printer. For this, it really needs a network interface, an automatic document feeder, and ideally a fax modem too; all three can be found in the EcoTank ET-M3180, which also launched earlier in 2019. This is more expensive, by £96, but is worth the additional expense thanks to its productivity-minded features, and it’s still about as fast and cheap to run as the ET-M2140.

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