Epson's EcoTank printers promise very low running costs over time, at the expense of a higher purchase price, and the Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer ($399.99) is no exception. In terms of price, capacity, and features, it fits between two of the previous EcoTank inkjets we've reviewed, the Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer ($666.67 at Amazon) and the Epson WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer ($666.67 at Amazon) . These printers makes sense only if you print enough to justify paying a significant additional up-front cost for the initial bottles of ink that come in the box—in this case, what Epson claims is two years' worth, or enough to print 11,000 black-and-white and/or 8,500 color pages. But if you do print enough, the ET-3600 can be a terrific deal.
The EcoTank printers prior to the ET-3600 ($666.67 at Amazon) have largely been updates of existing inkjet all-in-ones (AIOs), retrofitted with the necessary tanks and plumbing. But the ET-3600 appears to have been designed specifically for EcoTank use. For example, only the ET-3600 has a 2.2-inch monochrome LCD; the others have color and support touch. Instead, you navigate the ET-3600's screen with four directional keys and an OK button. The rest of the control panel consists of a number pad, Home, Back, Cancel, and Start buttons.Our Experts Have Tested 53 Products in the Printers Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
The ET-3600 measures 22 by 8.1 by 20.3 (HWD) and weighs a slight 14.6 pounds, making it compact enough to fit comfortably on most desktops. While the ET-3600 comes with a scanner, it does not have an automatic document feeder (ADF) for handing multiple pages to the scanner. Instead, you must scan one page at a time. If you scan multipage documents often, you should choose the next EcoTank model up, the aforementioned ET-4550, or perhaps the Editors' Choice Brother MFC-J985DW ($666.67 at Amazon) , one of that printer maker's INKvestment AIOs that has a 20-sheet ADF.
As for paper handling, the ET-3600 comes with a 115-sheet paper cassette that can also hold 10 envelopes or 20 sheets of photo paper. It has no override or multipurpose tray, so each time you want to change the media size you must pull out and reconfigure the paper drawer, thereby taking the machine out of service.3.0Average $666.67See Itat AmazonRead Our Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer Review4.0Excellent $809.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Brother MFC-J985DW Review 4.0Excellent $2,248.88Check Stockat AmazonRead Our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One Review 4.0Excellent $449.48Check Stockat AmazonRead Our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Review4.0Excellent $1,499.99See Itat EpsonRead Our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-8590 Review 4.0ExcellentCheck Stock at AmazonRead Our HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw Review 4.0Excellent $583.48See Itat AmazonRead Our Canon Pixma MG5720 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One Review4.0Excellent $249.99See Itat DellRead Our Dell Color Cloud Multifunction Printer H625cdw Review 4.0Excellent $234.49See Itat AmazonRead Our Canon Maxify MB2720 Wireless Home Office All-in-One Printer Review 4.0Excellent $897.88See It at AmazonRead Our Brother MFC-L6700DW Review 4.0Excellent $459.99See Itat AmazonRead Our HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer Review 4.0Excellent Read Our Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW Review 4.0Excellent $1,189.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Epson WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer Review
Your basic connectivity options are Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or a direct USB connection. Also supported is Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer protocol through which smartphones and tablets can connect to the printer without either device being part of a network or connected to a router. Missing, on the other hand, is near-field communication (NFC) for touch-to-print connectivity, a feature available on most other $400 inkjet AIOs. NFC is available on the Brother MFC-J985DW, for instance.
Other mobile connectivity options include the Epson iPrint app (for iOS or Android), Google Cloud Print, Epson Creative Print, Epson Scan to Cloud, Epson Email Print, and Epson Remote Print.
The ET-3600 isn't a high-volume printer in any way, so it doesn't need to be especially fast, within reason. Epson rates it at 13.7 pages per minute (ppm) for black-and-white pages and 7.3ppm for color. When printing our lightly formatted (MS Word) text file from our Windows 10 test bed PC running an Intel Core i5 processor, the ET-3600 churned at the rate of 12.9ppm, which is indeed close to 13.7ppm. When printing an aggregate of the text file and several other documents containing business graphics, spreadsheets, PDFs, and PowerPoint slides, the ET-3600 slowed down to 6.2ppm, the same rate as the Epson WorkForce WF-2760 All-in-One Printer ($666.67 at Amazon) .
In any case, 6.2ppm is fast enough for most small- and home-office environments. The ET-3600 printed our test snapshots in 1 minute, 19 seconds—the slowest time we've seen from any printer since starting our new test regimen. But at least the images were worth waiting for.
The Expression ET-3600's print quality is a lot like that of other Epson Expression AIOs. Text was highly legible and attractive; most graphics and photos looked good. I did see some unattractive (and at times, heavy) banding in graphics with dark gradient fills and backgrounds. Lighter-colored gradients and solid fills held up fine, as did thin "hairlines" measuring 0.5 point thick or smaller.
When using premium photo paper, image quality was good enough for most home and home-based-business uses. Scans and copies, too, came out well for the most part, although I did find myself having to compensate (in either the pre-scan software settings, or afterwards in Epson's photo touch-up software) for a slight orange tint in some photos containing people.
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Reducing running costs is what these EcoTanks printers are all about. If you buy this printer and you don't print and copy your way through the initial 11,000 black-and-white pages and/or 8,500 color pages (that's 458 black-and-white pages and 354 color pages every month for more than two years), you're not really getting a great deal. But each time you buy replacement ink, you'll appreciate the cost savings.
The ink bottles themselves are quite cheap, both literally and by the page. The black ink bottle, for instance, sells for $19.49 on Epson's site and it's good for about 6,000 pages. Bottles of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink sell for $12.99 each and deliver about 6,500 prints. Using these numbers, we calculated the running costs as follows: black-and-white pages run about 0.3 cent, and color pages cost 0.9 cent—one of the lowest cost-per-page numbers you'll find. Even our Editors' Choice, Brother's MFC-J985DW, can't deliver running costs this low; it only gets to 1 cent per black-and-white page and about 5 cents per color page.
Overall, the Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer is a fine little printer. Not only does it print more affordably than the Brother MFC-J985DW, but it also prints photos somewhat better than that Editors' Choice model. The ET-3600 doesn't have an ADF, though, and for many users—business-centric or otherwise—the ability to scan multipage documents automatically is important. If you don't scan a lot, the ET-3600 is probably a better deal for you than the MFC-J985DW, as long as you don't mind making an additional $200 investment at purchase time. But it's not a good buy if you don't print regularly.3.5See It$918.00 at AmazonMSRP $399.99View MoreView More
The Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer is an inkjet that can save you plenty of money if you print a lot, but an automatic document feeder would make it more attractive.
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