Review: Epson EcoTank ET-4500 Printer

Long gone are the days when you had to walk to a print shop to get your printing done. These days most, if not all of us, have printers at home and use them to our hearts desire. Getting a cheap printer is easy… what isn’t easy though, is how to find a solution which will allow you to keep printing costs down… and just when you thought there wasn’t an answer along comes the Epson EcoTank ET-4500…

Review - Epson EcoTank ET-4500 Multifunction PrinterThe Epson EcoTank ET-4500 Multifunction Printer which can print, copy, scan and fax is one of Epson’s new EcoTanks printers designed to keep printing cost at bay. It uses an integrated ultra-high-capacity ink tank system, which means much more printing before it requires a refill and best of all no need for cartridges. Full tanks will allow you to print up to 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 pages in colour – that is one heck of a lot of printing!

For the last 6 weeks I have had the pleasure of testing an ET-4500 and I am finally ready to share my verdict with you.

Pluses:

Easy to set up and use. Not everyone is a techno wizard but with the EcoTank ET-4500 you really don’t have to be. The enclosed disk goes through the process on your computer screen step by step with clear pictures and even the LCD screen on the printer chips in from time to time to give helpful prompts. Both set up and usability is very user friendly and straight forward… almost fool-proof.

Nice compact size and a pleasing finish. Sometimes useful things aren’t as pretty as we might hope for but the EcoTank ET-4500 is actually really nice looking. It’s not too big and it comes in a nice matt finish which as a whole looks rather good 🙂

Good print quality. After using a laser printer for the last 4 or 5 years I was a little uneasy with going “back” to an inkjet again but I was very positively surprised. The print quality is excellent both in black & white and colour.

Wifi enable. This is a huge plus. No more moving documents between devices or mess cables… now I can print hassle free from any phone, tablet, laptop or PC in the house… this must be my favourite function to be honest! It allows me to save so much time and messing about and I just love it!

Huge amount of ink. The Eco tanks hold a huge amount of ink allowing you to significantly reduce printing costs whilst at the same time giving you piece of mind. So many times before I find I get caught out with a cartridge running dry or my toner becoming empty just when I needed to print something time sensitive. I really like the fact that I no longer have to constantly worry about my printer. I’ve put a reminder in my calendar to check ink levels monthly… just to be on the safe side and when I do eventually have to top up the ink reservoirs I am only buying the ink which makes for sizable savings over other inkjet systems.

Copy/scan function. Until we plugged in the EcoTank ET-4500 we also had a scanner but now it is no longer needed. I like the multifunctional capabilities of this printer and the fact that I can have more space on and around my desk. When it comes to the fax… well to be honest I have had no need or opportunity for testing this feature so far but I am sure it works as intended, after all who still sends faxes outside of a corporate office environment.

Minuses:

Too much packaging! I know this isn’t a big deal for most but I really dislike over packaging. I know they wanted the printer to be safe in transit and it is a high tech high spec electronic device but it took a while to unwrap it and find all the hidden little protection.

Long set up. The set up although simple and well guided did take over an hour as the jets needed some 20 minutes to initialize themselves and just when you think you’re ready to do some test printing it spent another 20 minutes downloading patches and firmware updates. It is only a once off thing and now it springs to life very quickly, but for the initial set up I strongly suggest you make a large coffee and make sure you have some spare time.

Lack of duplex, which means that if you require double sided printing you need to turn pages around manually. However, this feature is available on ET-4550 model.

Verdict:

In general I am very happy with my EcoTank ET-4500. I have a fab looking fully functional printer / copier / scanner / fax with super low maintenance costs. I can enjoy hassle free printing from any device or place in the house and I don’t have to worry about levels of my ink as I know it will last much, much longer than a standard ink cartridge would.

I think the EcoTank ET-4500 is a great choice for anyone who prints a lot and is looking for a super economical printing option with no compromise on quality or speed of the print.

Thank you Epson!

Parragon Book Buddy – Natural

Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment – 320 pages of wonderful recipes that use fresh, natural and simple ingredients to help provide a healthier and cleaner approach to everyday eating.

Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment – 320 pages of wonderful recipes that use fresh, natural and simple ingredients to help provide a healthier and cleaner approach to everyday eating.I have to admit, this is by far the biggest cook book I’ve ever had the pleasure to review from Parragon Books. Not only is it large in presence but it also has a solid feel with over 300 pages stuffed with ideas and inspiration. The picture above doesn’t do its justice as in reality the cover of the book is embossed but as much as I wanted to show it, I simply couldn’t photograph it in any way that it would be visible.

Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment contains eight main chapters:

  1. Wake Up!
  2. Energy-Fuelling Lunches
  3. Super-Charged Snacks & Sides
  4. Dressings, Sauces & Dips
  5. A Feast of Vegetables
  6. Power-Packed Protein
  7. The Sweet Stuff
  8. Healthy Nectars

The titles are pretty self-explanatory so they give you a very good idea what type of dishes you might find inside this cook book.

Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment – 320 pages of wonderful recipes that use fresh, natural and simple ingredients to help provide a healthier and cleaner approach to everyday eating.In addition, as with most books from the Love Food series, this cookbook provides tons of information about naturally good ingredients. You can find in there all the knowledge you could seek about food superheroes like chia seeds, wheatgrass, coconut oil or water and well as many more.

Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment – 320 pages of wonderful recipes that use fresh, natural and simple ingredients to help provide a healthier and cleaner approach to everyday eating.All the recipes in the book come providing the number of servings, preparation and cook time as well as a lovely clear picture of the final dish ready for serving. I love cookbooks that come with nice photography as it makes me more inspired to actually recreate the dish. Plain text might be good for some but I like to see what to aim for and how close I can get my copy cat dish to its desired form and plating.

To add to this, Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment also gives you the expected nutritional value for each dish being calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, carbs, fibre, protein and salt.

Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment – 320 pages of wonderful recipes that use fresh, natural and simple ingredients to help provide a healthier and cleaner approach to everyday eating.Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment – 320 pages of wonderful recipes that use fresh, natural and simple ingredients to help provide a healthier and cleaner approach to everyday eating.For us 2016 is a back to basics year; we have big changes coming and one of them is to go back to our roots when it comes to food… eat natural, eat clean and most of all eat healthy, so this cook book was a wonderful gift which I am sure will get a lot of use and you will most likely see a lot of recipes on the blog which were inspired by it.

Do you have any food related plans and resolution for 2016?

***
Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment
ISBN 978-1-4723-9243-5
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2015
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 320
RRP: £20
Hardcover

*I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.
**All pictures in this post are from “Natural – Wholesome Recipes for Pure Nourishment” cookbook.

Parragon Book Buddy – Christmas Recipes & Crafts

Christmas Recipes & Crafts” from Parragon Books offers a wonderful selection of ideas for the perfect homemade Christmas.

"Christmas Recipes & Crafts" from Parragon Books offers a wonderful selection of ideas for the perfect homemade Christmas.Christmas is a truly magical time of the year. There’s the crisp, cool bite of winter, the smell of pine needles, twinkling lights and, if you are lucky, even a few jingle bells jingling, too. And that’s just outside. Inside cosy homes everywhere, the smell of fresh baked mince pies and biscuits mingle with the scent of the freshly cut Christmas tree… this is the beginning to the introduction… isn’t it a wonderful way to put you in the festive spirit?

The cookbook is stuffed with everything you might need for a perfect Christmas feast. Starting with the morning meal like rich orange crepes or pain au chocolate cinnamon rolls, via starters, main meal, sides and sauces and of course a selection of desserts and baked goodies; there is even a chapter on Christmas drinks like eggnog, mulled wine or a hot brandy chocolate. And if you don’t fancy a rummage through the entire cookbook, simply open up to the Christmas favourites section where you will find 14 recipes which will keep you, your family and friends well fed through the entire day.

Christmas Recipes & Crafts from Parragon Books offers a wonderful selection of ideas for the perfect homemade Christmas. Each and every recipe is clearly presented, providing you with an estimated cook time, number of servings and of course the ever essential ingredients list and method; and you can see the final dish just to give you a rough idea what to aim for.

The last chapter of the book features crafts; there are 10 projects to pick from and they vary from stockings, snowflake cards to a Christmas wreath. There are even templates, which you can use to make your crafting project easier.

Christmas Recipes & Crafts from Parragon Books offers a wonderful selection of ideas for the perfect homemade Christmas. The book itself is beautiful. The pages are smooth and shiny and they feel very luxurious. Each recipe has a clear pictures and the food photography is lovely, it really makes you want to recreate it and devour as soon as it is ready.

Christmas Recipes & Crafts from Parragon Books offers a wonderful selection of ideas for the perfect homemade Christmas. I know that most of us like to stick to the old favourites when it comes to Christmas but if you are open to something new or in need of some festive inspiration, I can truly recommend this book.

Do you like to experiment and try new dishes this festive season?

***
Christmas Recipes & Crafts
ISBN 978-1-4723-9253-4
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2015
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 224
RRP: £15
Hardcover

*I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.
**All pictures in this post are from “Christmas Recipes & Crafts” cookbook.

Review: Vaping Combo – Innokin Cool Fire IV & Anyvape Fury Tank

Review Vaping Combo – Innokin Cool Fire IV & Anyvape Fury Tank* by Mark

As many of Bark Time readers know I took up the modern art of vaping to assist me the quest to give up on smoking cigarettes and to also assist in making the house smell a whole heap better. So when the nice people at E-Cigarette Direct asked me to review a new mod, a new tank and juice set I was interested from the start, when they added it was the latest offering from Innokin, one of the industries go to names, it was a deal.

A few days later and a parcel landed on my doorstep containing a lovely red Cool Fire IV mod and a Fury Tank from Anyvape and a bottle of Jack 3 E-Liquid from 13 Sins, sorted! Well almost, the clue was there in the title, the new tank from Anyvape. Now as I have been vaping for over a year and have built up quite a collection of mods and tanks and associated paraphernalia I thought (wrongly) that I knew what I was doing. I pick up the tank and unscrew the base, as you do, primed the coil and started to fill with juice, check levels and when happy screw back together. Pop onto the Innokin Cool Fire IV and wait a couple of minutes and finally time to test this bad boy. All was fine, placed it on the side of my desk to continue with my workload for the day. An hour or so later when I am feeling the cravings kick in I reach for my new toy to find the contents of the tank have leaked out the bottom holes of the tank, all over the Cool Fire IV and then inevitably all over the desk in a large puddle. A 5ml may not seem very big when you’re filling it up twice a day but trust me spilt onto a desk and it seems to take an inordinate amount of tissue and wiping to get rid of it all. Needless to say that tank was lobbed across the room and an old faithful brought back into action to save the day.

Later whilst chatting to fellow vapers it was suggested to try it again and maybe the problem was I had over-screwed the tank when reassembling it, I denied this of course as I am experienced, but still worth a check. Oh and this time I read the manual!… just don’t tell anyone 🙂 A wonderful and seriously understated feature of the new Anyvape Fury Tank (btw if you’re going to Google the tank you need to add the Anyvape unless you want to wade through 2000 posts about Brad Pitt before finding anything useful or simply check all its features here) is that it is a TOP filling tank, a first I believe and what a lovely feature. When filling it up in the traditional manner through the base I was most unimpressed with the microscopic gap between the tank wall and the coil in which you are meant to get the juice through, however unscrew the drip tip and you are faced with two sizable holes in which to pour your juice with ease, wonderful feature! It achieves this feat of awesomeness by a mechanic that lowers the internal sleeving down over the coil inlet holes sealing them. As you screw the drip tip back into place after filling the action causes the sleeve to lift and expose the coil again, I am impressed and even more impressed that now it seems to be behaving and not throwing all my juice away.

The two juices from 13 Sins are nice, they have a nice mellow flavour but my taste buds where not alive enough to distinguish all the claimed flavours in the mix. As an example I am currently sampling their Jack 3 offering which has banana, caramel, popcorn, coconut, raspberry and cream in the mix, not a combination you come up with at the drop of a hat. I can get hints of coconut and the cream and the raspberry is quite pronounced but the rest I think just add to the background. In conclusion I would say that although it wouldn’t feature in my all time favourite juices list it is one that I would buy again when buying juices for occasions or just to keep the stock cupboard filled up.

Vaping Combo – Innokin Cool Fire IV & Anyvape Fury TankAnd finally to the star of the show, the Cool Fire IV. First impressions when I unwrapped it was, “Nice looking mod”. The second strong impression was when I took it out the box, I thought I was going to have to go to store to get a battery for it, it was so lightweight I was sure it was missing, but it was there and ready to go. Seriously the thing ways little more than a current smart phone even with the tank on and juiced up. My usual mod being a Smok80 or the CF Maxx now feel like lead weights after using the Cool Fire IV for a week. Battery life is pretty much as expected, a couple of hours on a charge (fret not, you can still vape to your hearts contentment as you charge due to the location of the socket, always handy when you have been caught short) and the Cool Fire IV will happily deliver you usable power for the day, although if you’re are a chain vaper then that may not be the case. The brushed aluminium case is well constructed and sculpted to fit comfortably in your hand however for me the issue became that the brush effect is vertical and as such it is very easy to drop the mod if you are not paying attention and your grip relaxes a little too much.

The Cool Fire IV has only 3 buttons that when tapped in a variety of sequences give a wealth of information and allow for easy altering of wattage and voltage as well as offering visual clues as to the current state of your battery. The Cool Fire IV also comes with a host of safety features to stop it all going horribly wrong such as accidently pressing the fire button as it rests against something when you slip it into a pocket or bag to go somewhere, after 15 seconds it will automatically switch itself off. Coupled with the mentioned top fill capabilities and air regulation openings at both the base level and on the drip tip allows you to precisely set it to your needs.

Review Vaping Combo – Innokin Cool Fire IV and Anyvape Fury TankAs a package it was a pleasurable experience, you’re not going to win any “cloudchaser” competitions but you will get a descent amount of smoke similar in effect to a regular cigarette.

My only concern regarding the set up is that it may not be for the novice user as it requires a fair amount of experience to get working properly. If you are upgrading from an entry level e-cigarette style of kit then prepare yourself for a reasonable steep learning curve. Read the manual and then visit Youtube for tips on how to get the most out of your endeavours. As an example I was unable to raise the wattage above 20 watts without it hissing and spitting like a cat on a hot tin roof, then I added a couple of increments to the voltage side of the equation and suddenly a smooth smoke and significantly increased vapour production.

If you have any questions about any of the package I have reviewed then please post a comment and I will get back to you.

Have you considered starting vaping or upgrading if you already do?

If you are a vaper then what do you think to the Cool Fire IV?

*Products featured in this review were provided free of charge for review purposes.

Press’d – Coffee in a Squeeze!

Press’d is the first 100% pure coffee concentrate offering a genuine coffee experience without the hassle of brewing it yourself. Press’d coffee is brewed using a low temperature method which helps preserve both the flavour and the aroma of the coffee beans. All you need is hot water and Press’d! That’s it, the coffee is ready for your enjoyment!

Press’d is the first 100% pure coffee concentrate offering a genuine coffee experience without the hassle of brewing it yourself. Press’d coffee is brewed using a low temperature method which helps preserve both the flavour and the aroma of the coffee beans. All you need is hot water and Press’d! That’s it, the coffee is ready for your enjoyment! Currently Press’d comes in three flavours:

  • Colombian
  • Carmel
  • Vanilla

All three of them contain 100% Arabica beans. The flavoured Press’d have an addition of a natural flavouring but that is all… nothing else was squeezed into the Press’d!

For someone who loves coffee, I found these little bottles very intriguing. With a healthy dose of scepticism I asked for some samples to be shipped to me… I truly wanted to give them a go but I wasn’t holding my breath or even having any great expectations. Well, it turns out I was wrong!

Press’d offers a truly enjoyable experience. I would even go so far as stating that I prefer it to my everyday instant coffee and I would put it in line with my more special filtered coffee. The difference is… to make my filtered coffee I need my coffee machine… I need a coffee pod (which actually costs more per cup than a Press’d) and I need more time as the water in my machine heats up much slower than it would take me to boil a kettle… so on balance Press’d wins!

Each 48ml pot holds enough coffee for 16 servings in a 200ml cup and it has a RRP of £2.99. At present you can find it via Wholefoods and Ocado but soon it will be available across the UK.

In addition to using it just as a coffee I believe it would be very useful in baking… no more fake coffee flavourings or spending precious time reducing coffee to make its flavour more concentrated… now I can simple add some Press’d. I have a few ideas floating around my head for some coffee based cakes so I am sure sooner or later mysteriously, a new coffee flavour cake recipe will be appearing on the blog.

I usually don’t share food reviews but I think that Press’d deserved it. It offers a lovely rich flavour, it’s super convenient and I just love the whole idea of it. Now, next time we travel home to Poland and find we have stopped on a German autobahn during the middle of the night when all the good coffee places are shut, instead of spending a small fortune on a cup of black liquid hardly resembling coffee, we can simply get some hot water and use Press’d creating a proper brew on the go! Not an everyday occurrence agreed but in principle the same thing could be true when driving to Chigwell, less the autobahn obviously.

Hmm thirsty, think I might just make myself a cup!

Have you had the good fortune to come across Press’d?

Do you like the idea?

Do you think it would be useful for you to have a squeezable coffee?