I’m sure 95% of us have an at home printer of some sort. For me they are an essential part of my day. I don’t tend to use them to print out emails for example, but do use them for more creative projects, photographs and for the children’s homework, to name three things.
The two models I am going to compare come from two different companies, and I have being using them together for the past three months so to give them a detailed and thorough test. The HP Envy uses the system where you receive the ink through the post (paid monthly) and the Epson comes with a two year supply of ink.
First is the HP Envy 5530 (£59 from John Lewis) – follow the link for the full original review.
I’ve actually have had this printer for over a year now. It was quick and simple to set up, I inserted the disc into my computer and followed the instructions on the screen. I think in total it took me 10 minutes from start to finish. The ink snaps into place, in its pre-packaged containers, no spills as its enclosed. You just need to take seals of the unit, which is the red tab you can see in the image below. There are two cartridges to add, colour and black.
Epson Ecotank L355 (£199.99 from John Lewis) All-In-One Wireless Printer with High Capacity Tank System & 2 Years Ink Supply Included
A VERY different system for this one. You still need to insert a disk in order to connect it to your PC to the printer, this failed twice though, which was really annoying. The ink tanks were the most inconvenient thing. Each one had to be filled manually with a bottle of four different coloured inks.
It was a messy thing to do, and added so much time onto set up. Even thoughmy husband who was helping set up was extremelly careful, he still spilt black, yellow and blue ink on his fingers, which no amount of washing would get rid of!
In total it took us 35 minutes to set up the Epson, so much longer (25 mins) than the HP. I also needed to wait an additional 20 minutes for the ink to be ready in the Epson before I could run a test print, whereas with the HP it did this instantly.
HP : Size H390 x W445 x D608 mm
Epson : Size H145 x W472 x D300mm
The Epson, is smaller in design, however if you are wanting to add it to a slim shelf, the paper is fed from the top so making its height quite restrictive, so you need to consider this and where it will go in your house.
Overall they look very similar, however the large tank to the side of the Epson, is cumbersome and add extra cm’s to the size. It also seems quite flimsy in its design, I wasn’t convinced it hold up to a knock, which worries me, in a house with children. The scanner however was very similar in both models.
There are few other things that stood out to me in the product design of each of these models. With the Epson, there are ink feeding tubes taking the ink to the printer. The literature states that this will stop blockages and air pockets, I’ve never experienced this with my HP, so I wasn’t sure if the the waste of ink (which is expensive) in those tubes outweighs this feature? For me having never experienced it in the HP it wasn’t. More on this to come in the second post.
I also tested out the SD card reader, a feature I love on my HP, it means I can VERY quickly, in a instant really, print off photographs or documents saved on the card. Not the case with the Epson, which didn’t have a card reader, and has only very basic controls on the panel compared to the HP.
Epson claim that you can save 65 per cent on the cost of ink by using one of its EcoTank printers, whereas HP claim 70%. I’m a little wary of these claims, especially when you look at the high initial price of the Epson Printer of £200 compared to £60 for the HP. Each ink bottle when you need to fill the tanks costs £8 (x 4) £32 with the Epson. However with the instant ink scheme I am paying currently £3.49 per month £41.88 in total. I really can’t see how these figure add up?
In my next post, I will be looking at pint quality, with a number of experiments I have been doing. You will be surprised by the results I think!