When it comes to printers, there are two popular types: ink-based printers and laser printers. Ink-based printers are generally affordable but also slower and clunkier to maintain. On the other hand, laser printers, the ones that melt toner powder onto the paper, offer excellent quality and performance but at a premium price. A few brands, including Epson, are challenging the status quo by refining the ink printer technology. In fact, Epson is confident that its new ink tank printers can give laser printers a run for their money in terms of quality and running costs. Is there any truth to this or is it just wishful thinking? Let us find out in our Epson EcoTank L6490 printer review.

The Epson EcoTank L6490 is a multifunction ink tank printer with wireless connectivity, a built-in high-resolution scanner and copier, an automatic document feeder, and even a touchscreen display. You can use it via your computer or a smartphone. It even supports AirPrint and other wireless printing technologies.

Epson EcoTank L6490 Design and Build

Generally, office hardware is mundane in terms of design. Epson doesn’t completely break this custom but does enough to make the EcoTank L6490 printer look a bit modern. As opposed to most multifunction or all-in-one printers, Epson’s approach to aesthetics is quite streamlined.

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    The Japanese company has integrated a spacious paper output zone between the scan and print modules. This greatly declutters the design and is a refreshing break from the lazy duct-tape engineering prevalent in the printing industry.

    You may not notice it at first glance, but the machine has grooves in all the right places. For instance, there’s a tiny indentation at the right-hand side to help you open the paper tray. Another one is on the document cover. You can easily refill ink tanks situated at the front of the bottle by just lifting up the list and using affordable ink bottles from Epson.

    The printer’s plastic body is quite robust and the overall fit and finish are top-notch. Tipping the scales at 7.3kg, the EcoTank L6490 is a bit heavy. However, that’s not a big concern since nobody moves these machines often in their home or office.

    Epson EcoTank L6490 Features, Ease of Use

    The Epson EcoTank L6490 completely justifies its multifunction printer tag. In addition to scanning and printing documents, it can be used as a standalone copier and fax machine. For standalone use, Epson has equipped the L6490 with an onboard 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen. The touch input experience isn’t as good as your smartphone, but it gets the work done and is more responsive to some costlier laser printers.

    The machine features a few tactile buttons including the self-explanatory Power and Home. The help key is marked as ‘?’, which uses short animated tutorials to guide the user.

    Accessibility is another area where the EcoTank L6490 shines. Since it is a network printer, you can simply print stuff from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. You can add it to your current setup over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Plus, it comes with the Wi-Fi Direct option, which turns your printer into a wireless router. The Epson Print and scan utility apps are feature-rich but are due for a design refresh.

    The EcoTank L6490 supports mono as well as colour printing. The machine features a large front cassette that holds up to 250 papers. Plus, there’s a rear paper feeder should you need to load up a photo paper without opening the front tray. Speaking of papers, you can cut its usage down in half by using the duplex printing feature. If you need to scan multiple documents, the EcoTank L6490 can make your life easy with its Automatic Document Feeder (ADF).

    The printer supports following paper formats: 9 x 13cm, 10 x 15cm, 13 x 18cm, 13 x 20cm, 20 x 25cm, 100 x 148mm, 16:9, Letter Legal, No. 10 (Envelope), DL (Envelope), C6 (Envelope), B5 (17.6 x 25.7cm), A6 (10.5 x 14.8cm), A4 (21.0 x 29.7cm), and A5 (14.8 x 21.0cm).

    Epson EcoTank L6490 Printing Speed & Performance

    Epson has done a good job of boosting the print speeds of the L6490. Here are a few terms you need to get familiar with before moving on to the test results:

    1. Draft Mode: As its name suggests, Draft Mode is ideal for testing page layout before printing the final copy. This is the fastest, but lowest-quality mode on most printers. Apart from testing and measuring print speeds, Draft Mode can be used to print low-priority documents such as grocery lists.
    2. Standard Mode: This is the default setting for most printers. It offers a balance between quality and speed that works fine for most printing needs.
    3. High-Quality Mode: If you want to squeeze out the best possible quality from your printer, this is the setting to opt for. However, the quality improvement comes at the cost of print speeds.

    The printer’s first page out time is 7 seconds in monochrome Draft Mode. The standard mode takes around 9 seconds, whereas it shoots up to 24 seconds in High-Quality Mode.

    Print Mode

    First Page Out

    Draft

    7 seconds

    Standard

    8 seconds

    High

    24 seconds

    Moving onto Pages Per Minute (PPM), we got around 22 pages in Monochrome Draft Mode. Switching to the Standard Mode clocks in 16 pages. To deliver the best results, the L6490 takes its sweet time to print two pages in a minute.

    Print Mode

    Pages Per Minute

    Draft

    22

    Standard

    16

    High

    2

    When printing text in colour, the first page out time is 9 seconds for Draft, 14 seconds for Standard Mode, and 46 seconds for High.

    Print Mode

    First Page Out

    Draft (Colour)

    9 seconds

    Standard (Colour)

    14 seconds

    High (Colour)

    46 seconds

    The printer’s output with mode set to Draft colour is 9 pages per minute. In Standard Mode, you get 7 pages per minute. In High-Quality Mode, it prints one full image in a minute.

    Print Mode

    Pages Per Minute

    Draft (colour)

    9

    Standard (colour)

    7

    High (colour)

    1

    In all, the print speeds are quite good for a multi-functional ink printer. Epson has also got the print quality right for the most part. Be it monochrome prints or colour documents with charts, the L6490 handles it well. The text sharpness in High-Quality Mode is very good. For those looking for more details, Epson has opted for pigment ink over dye ink. The pigment ink produces deeper blacks and doesn’t fade for months. This ink type is also more resistant to water compared to dye ink. It does, however, has its share of shortcomings. For instance, pigment ink loses out to dye ink in terms of vividness. Because of this, the L6490 struggles with photoprints.

    The L6490’s flatbed scanner uses a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) and an LED light source to deliver great results. The 300dpi setting is good enough to scan documents. For images, 600dpi is a sweet spot. There’s also a software-based 1200dpi mode, which slightly improves the scan quality, but is painfully slow. Scanning a monochrome chart takes 9 seconds to scan at 300dpi, 15 seconds at 600dpi, and a whopping five minutes at 1,200dpi.

    Epson EcoTank L6490 Print Economy

    Unlike most ink printers that use single-use cartridges, the Epson EcoTank L6490 houses internal ink tanks that can be topped up. Since you don’t have to bin the ink cartridges, the printer’s running cost remains in control. To make sure the refill process doesn’t leave your desk messy, Epson uses specially designed spill-free bottles.

    As per the Japanese brand, the 70ml black ink bottle has a yield of up to 6,000 pages. Epson also offers a 127ml version that can print up to 7,500 monochrome pages. The remaining Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow ink bottles have a composite yield of 6,000 pages. The black ink bottle costs ₹309, whereas the colour ones are pegged at ₹449 each.

    Is The Epson EcoTank L6490 Worth Buying?

    The Epson EcoTank L6490 is priced at ₹35,999, but you can get it for ₹30,700 from Amazon India. It offers colour printing, a scanner, a copier, and duplex support. The black levels are better than most ink printers. Sure, its photo-printing performance is mediocre. However, that’s the case with most multi-function printers in this price category.

    Overall, the EcoTank L6490 is a very good option for small offices that may print around 1,600 pages per month. If you can settle for a monochrome printer with a similar set of features, HP’s LaserJet Pro MFP M226dw is a good option for ₹34,800. For those looking for a colour printer from the laser camp, HP’s Color LaserJet Pro M255dw is worth checking out for ₹43,400. For more recommendations, check out our list of best printers that you can buy in India.

    Epson EcoTank L6490 What’s Good & What’s Not?

    Pros

    Cons

    Great for printing documents

    Mediocre photo printing quality

    Good printing speeds

    High initial cost

    Low printing cost

    Extensive connectivity options

    Duplex printing support

    Can print from mobile devices

    Epson EcoTank L6490 Review Ratings

    Design

    Features

    Ease Of Use

    Perfomance

    Value

    Overall

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