A while back, during a briefing on some new Epson EcoTank printers, we asked the company why there were no consumer-grade EcoTank photo printers. At the time, the answer seemed obvious to us: that offering a volume discount on consumables for these ink-guzzlers wouldn’t be profitable. But Epson’s answer surprised us. The company rep simply said, “Stay tuned.” And sure enough, a few months later Epson announced the topic of today’s review, the $449.99-street-priced, 28-syllable-named Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer, as well as its higher-end, tabloid-size sibling, the Epson Expression Premium ET-7750 Wide-Format Supertank All-In-One Printer.
Both of these Expression Premium AIOs are part of a larger, seven-product debut of new EcoTank machines, ranging from the lower-end ET-2700 to the impressive ET-7750. Among this sweeping upgrade are three Expression models, two WorkForce AIOs, and these two Expression Premium models.
While there are several ways in which Expression Premium AIOs distinguish themselves from non-Premium Expression models, in this case, the primary distinction is that the ET-7700 and ET-7750 deploy five inks, rather than the more common four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK) used in most standard color inkjet (and laser) printers. The fifth ink here, dubbed Photo Black or PB, is pigment-based rather than dye-based. Pigment-based inks tend to provide a wider color range and take longer to fade than their dye-based counterparts.
The real news here, though, is that the ET-7700 can print borderless photos up to legal-size (8.5 by 14 inches) for not very much money (on a per-page cost-of-ink basis). Enough ink comes in the box for printing thousands of documents and hundreds of photos. When it comes time to buy more, as you’ll see later in the Cost Per Page section, refill bottles that hold literally thousands of document pages and photos are quite inexpensive, on both a per-page and by-the-bottle basis.
In other words, once you burn through the initial allotment for the machine (ten bottles of ink, or two sets of CMYK PB), the ET-7700 starts printing your document pages and photos for some of the lowest running costs in the inkjet printer market, especially for consumer-grade photo printers.
Otherwise, the ET-7700 is, for the price, not a very well-endowed all-in-one printer. As you’ll see in the Performance section later on, it’s slow, its paper input capacity is low, and it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying or scanning multipage documents. And all of that is a lot to give up in a $450 machine.
If, on the other hand, what you need is primarily great-looking artwork and photos at a highly reasonable cost per page, with perhaps an occasional scan or copy thrown in, the only reason we can think of not to buy the ET-7700 is that you need wide-format artwork and photos. In that case, you can get the ET-7750 for about an additional $100.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper