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The ET-4550 isn’t a behemoth like the Epson WF-4630. It measures 20.3 x 14.2 x 9.5 inches (50 x 35 x 24cm) (W x D x H) and just 16.3 pounds (7.2kg), compared with the 4630’s 31.6-pound heft and 25-inch diameter. It’s comparable in size to the Canon Pixma MG7520, which is three inches slimmer, four inches shorter and one pound heavier.
Specifications and performance
Here is the Epson ET-4550 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
- Print speed: 13 black ipm, 5 color ipm
- Print resolution: 4,800 x 1,200 dpi
- Paper sizes: Up to 8.5 x 47.2-inch
- Paper capacity: 150 sheets
- Dimensions: 20.3 x 14.2 x 9.5 inches (W x D x H)
- Weight: 16.3 pounds
Manufacturer-provided specs can be quite deceiving. Despite claiming print speeds of 13 black pages per minute and five color pages per minute, I was only able to print five Microsoft Word documents in black and white in 60 seconds. I failed to print even one color image in under a minute. In fact, it took two minutes to produce a color photo on plain paper.
These speeds are pretty unforgivable, especially for a workforce printer. You can accept 13 black images per minute if the image quality was top-notch, like the Canon Pixma MG7520. But with a top resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 dpi, the ET-4550 needs to be much, much faster than it is.
To provide some context: the Canon Pixma MG7520 produces 12 black images per minute. The Canon Maxify MB5320 gets you up to 23 images per minute, and the Epson Workforce Pro WF-4630 can get you 20. The ET-4550 gets dusted by all of these devices.
On Windows computers, you can adjust your settings to produce lower quality prints at faster speeds. I was working on a Mac and was only able to adjust the quality from Normal to Best, which added a second to the Microsoft Word document print time. It’s possible that on a Windows machine you can lower the quality of the document to improve the print speed, but given that the maximum print quality on the ET-4550 isn’t great to begin with, why would you want to further downgrade?
Small business owners should be particularly wary of these dreadful speeds. Imagine having to print a 10-page PowerPoint presentation, and then standing at the printer for 20 minutes waiting for the document to emerge? Shoot me now, please.
The prints don’t come out awful, though. The blacks are bold and the bright colors pop. However, there isn’t much contrast here; your darks fade into one another and the detail output isn’t complex. If you need a printer for company memos and homework assignments, then this is all you really need. But if you’re trying to print photos of your daughter’s five-month birthday, or if you need to run off a ton of copies quickly, look elsewhere.
Let’s be honest: You’re not interested in this printer for its speed or quality. You want a ton of ink and you want to get that ink cheaply. Well, you’ve succeeded. With the comparable Epson WF-4630, you’ll use Epson's $22.99 (£14, AU$31) standard-sized cartridges, which are rated for 900 pages of printing, equating to a cost of 2.6 cents for black-and-white prints and 11.6 cents for color.
With the ET-4550, you’re getting 8,500 color prints for $54.99 (about £35, AU$75), which works out to less than a penny per print. That’s pretty darn economical!
Additionally, the printer works with Epson Connect print and share technology, which enables you to access the device from mobile phones and tablets. It also works with Google Cloud printing, Mopria, Kindle Fire Print and Apple AirPrint, so you’ll never really be left in a lurch.
For you cord-lovers, the ET-4550 also features a USB 2.0 and Ethernet port.