Review of the Epson EcoTank Photo ET 8500 All-in-One printer
Epson asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the EcoTank photo ET 8500 all-in-one printer. I said yes and was given the opportunity to use the printer for a month. Is it worth investing in this printer? Let’s find out.
the Epson EcoTank Photo ET 8500 All-in-One Printer is not a cheap printer. It costs around $ 600, but for that amount of money you can get a printer that is designed to print lab-quality photos up to A4 size. It is also suitable for daily document printing and scanning. The printer works wirelessly and uses the Epson Cartridge Free Ink system.
the Epson Ecotank ET 8500 printer can be connected to a smartphone or tablet for direct printing. It also offers an SD card slot and a USB port. A beautiful 4.3-inch touch screen allows you to browse and select the images you want to print. It has a nice user interface with a great built-in help function.
Ink bottles instead of ink cartridges
While the ink bottle system isn’t new, I’ve never seen it. It eliminates the need to buy expensive ink cartridges, which makes it more environmentally friendly. The printer has six reservoirs that must be filled from large plastic ink bottles.
It uses the colors cyan, magenta, and yellow. It also has two reservoirs for black and one for gray. The latter is needed in order to be able to print grayscale better. Each of the ink bottles has a unique design that makes it impossible to fill the wrong container.
Filling the reservoir is straightforward. Just turn the bottle upside down and wait for the container to fill up. However, do not squeeze the bottle to speed up the filling. If you do this, you will spill a lot of ink. Unfortunately, the bottles are all made of plastic. If it’s an environmentally friendly system, why not refillable glass bottles?
Speaking of the environmentally friendly system: The Epson EcoTank ET 8500 consumes 17 watts when printing. In sleep mode, the energy consumption is around 0.8 watts. After a complete shutdown, there is still a small consumption of 0.3 watts. If the printer should always be in standby mode, use at least 0.16 kWh per week.
The design of the Epson EcoTank ET 8500
The overall picture is clean. The paper carriers remain hidden in the printer until printing begins. The touch screen can be tilted for your convenience. At the top you will find the scanner. The entire top cover can be tilted into the tanks for maintenance and ink refilling. The top is relatively heavy, but a couple of springs keep the top open. Closing the lid requires some force.
The printer is approx. 403 x 369 x 162 mm (width x depth x height) and weighs approx. 8.4 kg without paper or ink. You will need to leave some space in the back if you want to use the rear paper feed. The normal paper trays are located at the front of the printer. The upper paper tray is suitable for photo paper and the lower paper tray for normal A4 paper. The Epson EcoTank ET 8500 has a motorized tray for the printed paper from photos.
Printing from the computer
Connecting the printer to the Wi-Fi network is relatively easy, just follow the instructions on the touchscreen. I used the Epson EcoTank ET 8500 from a Windows laptop which automatically finds the printer’s drivers.
Almost all of the prints I made were from Adobe Photoshop. There is no special software. The printer uses Photoshop or Window’s built-in print engine as far as I could tell. It makes printing very easy, but doesn’t give you a sense of complete control. The Epson website does not offer any printing software for this printer.
The only settings I could find in Photoshop were the paper size and quality. There is also the option of selecting paper feed. Color management is done by Photoshop or by the printer itself. It determines the ICC profile based on the settings you have chosen.
I have no way of determining the print quality. I also have no way of comparing the results from other printers. But the photos I printed look fine. I didn’t see any strange color shifts. I believe this makes the printer very easy to use, with results the same color as seen on the computer screen.
Printing photos doesn’t make much noise, even though it prints relatively quickly. A normal 4 “x 6” print takes only 15 seconds. There is also an option for silent printing. However, this results in a lower printing speed. Duplex printing a Word text document is time consuming. It takes seconds to print the page on the other side.
One of the options is to print in panorama format and it is possible to print up to 2 meters in length. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the paper to attempt this.
Printing from an SD card
The Epson EcoTank ET 8500 has an SD card slot and a USB port. The touch screen makes it very easy to print the images from this media. Note, however, that only JPEG images from SD or USB can be printed.
The printer will display a gallery of thumbnails for you to choose from. There are also some rudimentary options available to customize the image before printing. The first thing I noticed was the ability to create borderless 4 x 6 inch prints, which was not possible when printing from Photoshop. I couldn’t find a setting that creates a borderless print in Photoshop as well.
Scanning with the Epson EcoTank ET 8500
You have to download special scanning software before you can use the flatbed scanner of the Epson EcoTank Et 8500. Installation is easy, but finding the printer is a little trickier. Once you’ve found your printer, scanning is a breeze.
The results look good. There are a few settings that you can change if necessary. You can also enhance a scan, change colors, and adjust the brightness. This can be especially useful when scanning photos.
This is the first time I’ve checked a printer. As a result, I cannot compare the print quality with others that I have checked, but simply judge the results by their own values.
I think the idea of ink reservoirs is fantastic. It’s so much better than ink cartridges I think. This could be a reason to choose such a printer. Another thing I like is how easy it is to use. It’s almost plug and play, and when things get a little more complex the menu will help you figure it out. The touchscreen makes operation and printing easy and almost intuitive. Still, I miss the dedicated printing software that offers more customization options and maybe even the use of ICC profiles.
So I have mixed feelings about this printer. The options are great and I love the flexibility it offers. On the other hand, there is a lack of complete control over all settings. Borderless printing, which can be done from an SD card but not when printing from Photoshop, is a good example.
I am not convinced that this printer is for all professional photographers who want the best quality while having full control of the printer. At the same time, the printer could be a bit too expensive for amateur photographers. This puts the Epson EcoTank ET 8500 something between two markets.
What I like
- Ink system with reservoirs instead of ink cartridges
- The ink level can be seen on the front of the printer
- Beautiful 4.3 inch LCD touch screen with tilt option
- Simple operation and a good help menu
- Many printing options in sizes and paper thickness (up to 1.3 mm)
- WiFi connection and printing from smartphone or tablet
- Printing from SD card or USB is easy
- Replacement ink is relatively cheap
What I do not like
- Printing settings on a computer are restricted
- No control of ICC print profiles
- Borderless printing (on 4 x 6 inches) is only compatible from an SD card and not from a computer
- Duplex printing is very slow
- No button to close the motorized paper tray, this can only be done via the touchscreen
- Heavy price