Epson launched their next generation EcoTank range for the Home and Home Office back in October 2021. These new models all use replacement ink bottles and comes with the rather clever Epson Smart Panel app.

Espon EcoTank ET-2850


Back in June 2021 I reviewed the EcoTank ET-8500, with a conclusion that it is adequate for home and casual use of printing photos but had a high cost of entry. At the time my test unit was pre-configured and ready to use so I never got to step through the initial setup process.

With thanks to Epson DRN gets to test the brand new Epson EcoTank ET-2850, brand new launch and brand new unit to step through what the process is like before it is ready for use.


First Impressions

The ET-2850 is an inkjet multifunction printer, copier and scanner that stores its ink in tanks, and refillable from bottles. There is no need to replace with disposable cartridges with their expensive hardware. It is so economical to run that Epson claims it can do 6500 copies on black and 5200 copies on colour straight out of the box.

The device is pretty compact coming in at 375‎ x 347 x 187mm (WxDxH), although the overall footprint is larger to accommodate the output tray in the front. The scanner lid hinges at the back of the longest side but does not slant back beyond the paper tray.

A 1.5″ colour screen sits on a hinged panel, with buttons to control the operations to the right of it. The panel can be swivelled to 90 degree vertical to horizontal for the most convenient viewing angle.

The included ink bottles are the full dose, enough to fill the tank to the maximum level. These aren’t your hotel mini bar versions of ink.

EcoTank ink bottles



The Epson Smart Panel app is paired with this generation of EcoTank printers. While it is not essential to have it on your smartphone, it does make setup much simpler with clear guided step by step instructions in a chat and response format.

If you have used any website’s live chat feature, then this is in a similar vein. The first thing it does, naturally, is to search for the correct product.

The second step is to get the unit ready for ink initialisation. The wizard shows a picture depicting where the ink tanks are, and more importantly, which colour ink goes in which tank in an easy to digest graphics. The graphical is a really nice touch and they show clearly each step and expectation of the end result.


To further eliminate mistakes, each tank is keyed differently to prevent the wrong colour bottle onto the wrong tank. Each tank takes about a minute to fill and it will automatically stop when the tank is full. The ink initialisation takes about 10 minutes to complete, and it is important that ALL the tanks are filled to prevent damage. The app explicitly makes you confirm that the tanks are filled with ink.

EcoTank refilling


The app then guides you through setting up the Wi-Fi connection to your network. It even gives you tips to where you may find it on your router. The only thing that confuses me here is why did Epson choose to implement their own keyboard here by default, when it would have been far simpler to call on the OS keyboard.

One the ink initialisation is completed, the printer is ready to use. Noting that the ink initialisation process does take a chunk of ink out of the tank. However, there is a little leftover in each bottle after the initial fill, and guess what? It is just enough to top up the tanks after ink initialisation. Thanks Epson!

Ink level post initialisation

After this the printer will go into calibration mode, where you need to look at a couple of print outs and select the best output. The answer is input though the buttons next to the LCD.


In Use

Via the app, the printer is ready to go once setup is complete.  When launched, the app looks for the printer as well as checks for firmware updates automatically. The checking process does not take long so it won’t interfere with what you want to do.

All the functionality are available in the icons at the bottom:

  • Print Photos – Select and print photos
  • Print Documents – Select and print a document
  • Scan – Scan a document, with option to change settings such as colour / greyscale, resolution
  • Document Capture – Scan with the Camera app
  • Copy – Copy a page with option to change settings
  • Preset Copy – Preset your favourite options so it is always on tap
  • Access to Class – Print assignments or scan documents from Google Classroom
  • ID Card – Scan or copy ID card
  • Borderless Copy
  • Creative Print – requires Epson Creative Print, allows for creative customisation of media
  • Fun with Printing – Access print recipes from Epson for ideas such as gift bags
  • Guest Connection – Share access with other people via QR Code
  • Print Head Cleaning
  • Video Manuals
  • Troubleshooting

If this seems a lot of options crowding your screen, you can turn each one on or off from within the app itself. You can also reorder the list so that your highest used function is right at the start.

The Epson Smart Panel app is intuitive and friendly to use, clearly a lot of thought have been put into the UI.

From a PC perspective, I opted to download the latest driver from the Epson website. I had to for my machine and because I like a lot of control over my software, grabbed the printer driver and scanner driver separately. The latter comes with the Epson Scan 2 utility which is the interface to manage your scan settings.

There is a small amount of configuration to do here. Generally Windows will pick it up as a WSD device and configure the printer driver accordingly. Similarly the Epson Scan 2 utility will need to discover the unit on the network before it will work. Neither are particularly difficult to accomplish, unless you are looking to control every part of your network like I do with IP ranges. If that is you then you already know what you are doing and understand the pitfalls of changing IP address of devices post installation.

Printing is printing, and the driver for the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 works as one would expect from a well-established printer manufacturer.

The scanning software on the PC on the other hand, I feel could be improved. All the basic functionalities are there, as well as the standard advanced options to tweak your output.

By default when you scan a page on the glass, the file is saved immediately to the default location – in my case that is the Documents folder. In order to scan a multi-page document, you have to take the “Add or edit pages after scanning” box before you scan your first page. Once that is enabled, and the first page scanned, the Scan 2 program will pop up a dialogue box to Edit, Add or Save to the existing scan.

Epson Scan2 Epson Scan2

At this point, your preview has disappeared and you are left with holding in your hands what you want to scan. You feed the next page(s) in and hope for the best. There is no counter for how many pages you have scanned, or an option to discard a bad scan and replace it within the Scan 2 software. Unless you are doing a single page scan, it is an all or nothing deal. This would be problematic for scanning larger documents.

The scanner has a maximum optical resolution of 2400dpi. Scanning in photo mode allows for interpolated resolution up to 9600 dpi depending on the size of the document to scan. Unfortunately here there was no guidance as to what size is acceptable for the parameters, all I get is an error message saying “Selected area is too large for this resolution. Reduce the Resolution setting, or decrease the size of the selected area.” I assume there is a way to select the actual scan area but the how has beaten me for now.

A scan of an old print out of my beloved (and departed) grandparents using default settings is fairly colour accurate, but has been lightened in the process. At 1600dpi it took a while to scan, almost 3 minutes to scan a photo 12.8 x 9 cm in size. Left on the below scans is default, on the right is gamma corrected.

ET-2850 scan, default settings ET-2850 scan, gamma corrected



I really have no qualms about the hardware of the Epson EcoTank ET-2850, it is a solid home printer and that is something I have to keep reminding myself when I am generally working with large format MFDs with significantly faster print and scan speeds.

In that context the ET-2850 is a gorgeous little machine for versatile home use.

My only main would be the Scan 2 utility which could be better without some of the quirks I noted above.



A budget conscious, environmentally aware inkjet printer that is cheap to run, what more could you ask for? Yes, make it easy to set up! Wait, Epson did that too!

The Epson EcoTank ET-2850, paired with the Smart Panel app, is quite a powerful combination for a home or SOHO set up. The large capacity ink tanks that can churn out thousands of pages from out of the box is a welcome change from tiny, sample ink cartridges from competitors. Connectivity options are plentiful and there is an option to suit all your devices in an average home.

As for value, at RRP$499 you could argue this is a little steep. But when you consider the page count out of the box, and compare it to say a generic laser printer at the same function or price point, I would say the EcoTank is coming out ahead. You would be hard pressed to find a colour laser in this size footprint or capacity. There are three other models in the range that sits below the ET-2850 at lower prices points, but with similar capabilities.



Product Code: C11CJ63501
Printing Technology: 4-Colour (CMYK), drop-on demand MicroPiezo® inkjet technology
Maximum Print Resolution: 5,760 x 1,440 dpi
ISO Print Speed: Black: 10.5 ISO ppm
Colour: 5 ISO ppm
Auto 2-Sided ISO Print Speed Black: 6 ISO ppm
Colour: 4 ISO ppm
Minimum Ink Droplet Size: As small as 3 picoliters

Ink Type: EcoTank Ink Bottles
Ink Palette: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black
Ink Configuration: 4 individual ink bottles
Bundled Ink: 502 Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow , (ISO Yield, Epson Methodology – Black: 6,500, Colour: 5,200)
Replacement Ink: 502 Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow , (ISO Yield, Epson Methodology – Black: 7,500, Colour: 6,000)2

Operating Systems: Windows 10 , Windows 8, 8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit) , Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit) , Windows Vista , Mac OS X 10.6.8 – Mac OS X 10.15.x
Server Systems: Windows Server 2003 – Windows Server 2019 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Temperature: Operating 10° to 35° C , Storage -20° to 40° C
Humidity: Operating 20 – 80% RH ; Storage 5 – 85% RH (no condensation)
Dimensions: Printing 375mm x 567mm x 259mm (W x D x H) ; Storage 375mm x 347mm x 187mm (W x D x H)
Weight: 5.5kg

ISO Copy Speed Black: 7.7 ISO ppm; Colour: 3.8 ISO ppm
Copy Quantity: 99 (PC-free)
Maximum Copy Size: A4
Copy Features: Reduction & Enlargement (25 – 400%) , Borderless

Scanner Type: Colour flatbed
Photoelectric Device: Colour CIS line sensor
Optical Resolution: 2,400 dpi
Hardware Resolution: 1,200 x 2,400 dpi
Maximum Resolution: 9,600 dpi interpolated
Colour Bit Depth 48-bit colour input / 24-bit colour output

Standard Connectivity: Hi-Speed USB , Wireless (802.11 b/g/n), Wi-Fi Direct

Epson Connect: Epson Email Print, Epson Smart Panel, Epson iPrint App (iOS, Android)
Other: Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service

Paper Sizes: Legal, Letter, 8.5″ x 13″, A4, B5, A5, A6, B6, user definable (182mm x 257mm – 215.9mm x 297mm”)
Maximum Paper Sizes: 215.9mm x 355.6mm
Paper Types: Plain Paper , Photo Quality Inkjet Paper , Epson Matte Paper , Epson Glossy Photo Paper
Envelope Types: No. 10, C6, DL
Input Paper Capacity: 100 sheets

Display: 1.44″ colour LCD
Printer Language: ESC/P-R
Software Included: Epson printer driver, EPSON Scan: Internet access is required to install OS X drivers and software.