Epson EcoTank ET-8500: a picture-perfect all-in-one printer


Epson's EcoTank ET-8500 is a high-quality photo printer with big ink tanks.

Epson EcoTank E-8500

MSRP $700.00

“The Epson EcoTank ET-8500 effortlessly delivers lab-quality prints at home.”

Pros

  • Excellent photo quality
  • Document and photo prints in a flash
  • Easy installation and use
  • Fast and quiet scanner
  • Three wide-media support paper trays
  • SD Card and USB Drive Support
  • Small footprint automatic output tray

The Cons of Using

  • No automatic document feeder
  • Initial cost

Photo printers with large ink tanks and a built-in scanner are among the best. However, a printer specifically designed to produce photographic prints is a step above. Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 is a photo printer with a built-in scanner and large ink tanks, making it a unique all-in-one solution.

We put Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 to the test to find out how easy it is to set up and use, the performance on various paper types, and how quickly it prints documents and pictures. This is a specialized and more expensive printer, so we also check whether it’s worth the price, taking into consideration the long-term costs.

Design

The Epson EcoTank ET-8500 is a surprisingly compact all-in-one.
Epson EcoTank ET-8500 All-in-One is surprisingly compact. Alan Truly/Digital Trends

EcoTank’s ET-8500 is an incredibly compact printer, measuring only 15.9 inches in width, 13.7 inch tall and 14.5 inches deep when the automatic output tray has been retracted. The automatic output tray is extended forward when printing. This adds 6 inches to the printer’s depth. When both the rear paper trays and the front output trays are opened, the depth reaches a staggering 24 inches.

Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 offers a wide range of media choices, including the ability to print directly onto CDs and DVDs. The printer comes with three paper trays that can accommodate card stock in a range of sizes, as well as photo prints and up 50 sheets of standard letter-size paper.

The rounded corners and off-white color of the body make it a great fit for home or office. The large, adjustable 4.3″ color touchscreen in the front right corner makes it easy to use the printer while standing.

EcoTank ET-8500’s design is well-thought out. The EcoTank ET-8500 is intuitive, despite having three trays. It matches my expectations of an expensive home office laser printer. The envelope orientation icon was confusing until I realized the flap had a dashed-line, indicating that the envelope should face the front with the seal on the back.

Printing performance

Alan compares draft, standard, and hig-quality photos from Epson's EcoTank ET-8500.
Alan Truly compares draft, standard, and high-quality photos from Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500. Tracey Truly/Digital trends

Epson claims the EcoTank ET-8500 delivers “lab-quality color photos and graphics at an incredible value.” In every print test I did on matte or glossy photo paper, pictures came out beautifully, with perfect color and crisp detail — and at a surprisingly fast pace.

As expected, the contrast and saturation of colors will drop on plain paper. Both black-and-white documents and color ones are acceptable. A high-quality laser printer is a good choice if you want the best plain-paper photos. The EcoTank ET-8500 was designed to produce vibrant and high-quality photo prints.

EcoTank ET-8500 has consistently produced hard copies that look as good as the images on a large, bright screen. It is important to have the correct color and algorithm to reproduce images accurately.

Epson’s Claria ET Premium is a six-color ink system made up of the traditional cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, along with gray and “photo black” to extend the dynamic range without losing color fidelity. Claria ET inks use dyes except for the black pigment-based ink.

The photos are vivid, crisp and accurate. I agree with Epson’s claim that the EcoTank ET-8500 delivers lab-quality photo prints.

It is also fast, able to print up to 12 colour documents or 16 black and white documents per minute. Photo prints are quick as well: under a minute for best quality 4×6 prints, about 30 seconds for standard quality, and just 15 seconds for a draft mode. I had to look at the print very closely for almost a minute before I could find a place where there wasn’t enough detail. The difference between high quality and standard is minimal.

Special Features

The Epson EcoTank ET-8500's scanner is fast and quiet.
The Epson EcoTank ET-8500’s scanner is fast and quiet. Tracey Truly/Digital trends

Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 isn’t just a premium ink tank photo printer. It has a USB-A connector for thumb drives, a card reader and a scanner. The large touchscreen is perfect for copying and scanning. It also makes it easy to access drives and cards.

Epson limits the scan quality to 600dpi if you use the mobile app, or if you scan to an external memory. Connected to a Windows PC/Mac, I was able to double the resolution for crisp 1200 dpi scanning. Honestly, I don’t have any documents or photos that are sharp enough to benefit from such high resolution, but it’s nice to have the option.

The SD card and USB-A ports, located at the lower left corner of the front cover, allow for quick printing and scanning on the go without the need for a smartphone.

EcoTank ET-8500, as mentioned above, has three media trays. One tray is at the back for thick paper or envelopes, and the other two are at the front, for photos, paper, and direct printing onto a CD/DVD.

The Epson EcoTank ET-8500 includes a tray for printing directly on CDs and DVDs.
Epson EcoTank ET-8500 comes with a tray that allows you to print directly onto CDs or DVDs. Tracey Truly/Digital trends

Below the lower tray is a CD/DVD Guide. Use of this feature is guided by both the mobile app and touchscreen. Although optical discs have been used less and less, photographers and videographers will still appreciate the convenience of printing their discs before giving them to clients.

Software compatibility

Epson's EcoTank ET-8500 uses six ink colors in large tanks, making refills rare.
Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 uses six ink colors in large tanks, making refills rare. Tracey Truly/Digital trends

The Epson Smart Panel App and my Pixel 6a made it easy to set up the Epson EcoTank 8500. The printer’s large touchscreen guided me along the way as well, so I could switch to whichever was more convenient at each step.

It’s worth noting that filling six ink tanks, charging the lines, and doing head alignment takes several minutes. The ink included should last over a whole year, so this is not a common occurrence. Epson thoughtfully gave each ink bottle a slightly different top, so you can’t fill the wrong tank.

Epson printers can be found everywhere, so it takes only a few seconds to connect the EcoTank ET-8500 to devices running Windows and macOS.

Installing Epson software was necessary to get the best scanning quality and access all features. You can print, copy, and scan right away.

Price vs. Value

Walk-up printing is easy since the EcoTank ET-8500 supports SD cards and USB drives.
The EcoTank ET-8500 is compatible with SD cards and USB devices, making it easy to print from a distance. Tracey Truly, Digital Trends

The Epson EcoTank ET-8500 retails for $700, so it’s worth taking a moment to consider the long-term value before making a purchase. Sale prices as low as $550 are not uncommon.

Epson offers six full bottles of ink, which can last up to 2 years, depending on how they are used. It doesn’t sound like an exaggeration since the estimated yield is 6,200 pages for the most frequently used color inks: cyan, magenta, and yellow.

Black ink is $20 and lasts for 6,700 pages. Black costs $20 and prints 6,700 pages. Photo black is $17.50 per bottle and provides 7,300 pages. Gray is the least used but an important color that is $17.50 for a bottle. It lasts 46,600 pages.

A color document will cost on average 1 cent while a black and white document costs 3/10ths cent.

Epson claims that in just two years you can save as much as $2,000 on your ink costs. That’s compared to cartridge-based printers. EcoTank ET-8500 inkjet printers are cheaper, but they don’t offer the same photo quality.

What is the best printer for me?

Photographers, history buffs, and tech enthusiasts can be frustrated by the average picture quality provided by many inkjets. You can enjoy the results of a good photo printer if you have an discerning eye.

The Epson EcoTank ET-8500 is one of the best photo printers I’ve ever used. There’s no need to tweak pictures in a photo editor to adjust for print errors. On the first print, everything looks perfect. Even low-quality photos are sharp and have good color. The prints are quick, accurate, and reproduce the original photo.

The scanner is quiet and fast, with a good resolution. The large, colorful touchscreen makes copying easy and convenient. I tried hard to find something I didn’t like, but the price is the only barrier to buying this printer.

Even the $700 retail price becomes reasonable if you print in volume, thanks to the large ink supply that’s included and low running costs. The EcoTank ET-8500 is an excellent printer if you are able to afford it and want to prioritize photo prints.

Editors’ recommendations






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