At long last, Epson's ET-4750 begins to deliver on the EcoTank promise
- The tanks are easy to refill
- Great value over time
- Slow scanner and photocopies
Epson’s EcoTank system has always been a promising concept. Instead of costly, wasteful ink cartridges, EcoTank devices have big tanks, come with generous bottles of ink, and slash print costs to a fraction of their previous level. It’s a great idea, but we’ve been frustrated that we’re yet to see it fitted to a particularly good printer or multifunction peripheral (MFP). The EcoTank ET-4750 finally changes that.
It’s immediately clear that Epson has improved the EcoTank system itself. This MFP’s ink tanks are neatly integrated into the front where you can view their levels at a glance – it’s important not to let them run dry. More significantly, Epson has overhauled the filling system, introducing keying to eliminate the risk of misfuelling. The new system appears to be more leak- and splash-proof: now you just slot a bottle onto the tank and leave it for a minute to disgorge.
For anyone printing moderate amounts, the financial arguments for the ET-4750 are compelling. It’s around £320 more expensive than we’d expect for a typical MFP with its specification, but Epson says it comes with enough ink for 14,000 black pages and 11,200 in colour. Most inkjets arrive with ink for only a few hundred pages, after which they might typically cost about 7p per page: you’d only need to print about 5,000 pages over the lifetime of an inkjet MFP for the ET-4750 to prove better value.
The ET-4750 delivered our mono text test at 16.3 pages per minute (ppm), and reached 5.2ppm on our colour graphics test – both competitive results for the sub-£100, office-biased MFPs that make up its true competition. Photos were quite slow – postcard-sized prints took about two-and-a-half minutes each – but the results were surprisingly good given the office bias. Plain paper prints weren’t quite as bold as we’d have liked, but they were free of obvious artefacts such as banding.
Unfortunately, it seems the ET-4750 is cursed with a slow scanner. At either 150 or 300 dots per inch (dpi), A4 scans took 28 seconds – at least twice what we’d expect. A 1,200dpi postcard photo scan needed almost two minutes. Suspecting a slow network interface we repeated the tests via USB, but got near-identical times. At least the results were excellent, quality-wise.
The slow pace extends to photocopies. Single-page jobs were acceptable at 14 and 32 seconds respectively for black and colour, but copying ten pages using the 30-page automatic document feeder took two-and-a-half minutes in black, and four minutes in colour. Again, the results were good, if a shade too dark by default.
Epson EcoTank ET-4750 review: Verdict
It may be a bit slow to scan and copy, but the ET-4750 finally feels like a half-decent EcoTank MFP. It’s well equipped, with a touchscreen, fax modem, automatic double-sided (duplex) printing, and support for wired and wireless networking.
And yet nothing about it is particularly special, tactile or nicely designed: for £400 we don’t think a little surprise and delight is too much to ask. So, while we can finally recommend an EcoTank MFP, we can’t shake the feeling that Epson could make a still better one than the ET-4750.