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!

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.

BarkBeats – Review & Giveaway

BarkBeats is a dog subscription box with a heart. They deliver to you a selection of toys, treats and accessories and then donate at least 10% of their profits to UK dog rescue homes and shelters. Wonderful, isn’t it?

BarkBeats – Review & GiveawaySo how does it work?

Well, you describe your dog, you pick a plan (if you want any, as you can simply order as you go), and you pay and wait for your order to arrive at your door step 🙂

The price varies depending on the plan you choose. A one off box cost £19.99 but if taken as a 6 months subscription the price drops to a much better £14 a month and the price drops an extra pound to £13 if you take it for a full 12 months. The plans renew automatically, but you may cancel it at any time.

Our Lilly was asked to test one of BarkBeats boxes. This is what we received:

1. BarkBeats – Review & GiveawayMoody Pet Humunga Stache

4. BarkBeats – Review & GiveawayKong Air Dog Ball

5. BarkBeats – Review & GiveawayBark & Sparks Croissant

3. BarkBeats – Review & GiveawaySoopa Natural Chews

2. BarkBeats – Review & GiveawayFeelwells Training Treats

Five products and they all proved useful. Both toys are super, even the humunga stache which I actually thought would be a gimmick type of toy was liked 🙂 As for the treats, well Lilly is a lab cross so she loves all food so yes, they went down a storm with her.

Talking specifically about the treats it is worth noting that the chews are 100% natural, these are low calorie dried sweet potato, I was actually planning on making some for my guys, and so I am pleased they liked them.

The training treats were also a healthy option with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and they are wheat and wheat gluten free, which meant that Bunk could have some too.

Having tried a few pet subscription boxes before, I actually really like BarkBeats. They put very nice quality products into their boxes and I think they are well worth the money.

Being on a healthy path myself I am moving on with my new found way of life and including my dogs. I am aiming to feed them raw and offer only natural treats, so they can be as happy and healthy as possible.

As to the toys, well I have actually covered this before in my Top 3 Toys for Large & Giant Dogs post… Kong is the way to go, so I was extremely happy to see a Kong toy included as I know it will serve both Lilly and Bunk well for a lot more than a 30 minutes play session.

Overall, a huge thumbs up (or a paws up) to BarkBeats box; nice products, good price and great customer service.

And if you would like to try a BarkBeats box for your dog, we have one to giveaway.

Just like always, simply follow the instructions on the Gleam app below and check for the winner announcement after the closing date.

Win BarkBeats box

Have fun and good luck!

T&C:
1. Open to UK readers only.
2. This giveaway is sponsored by BarkBeats.
3. There will be 1 winner chosen at random from all valid entries. Winners will be chosen by Gleam.
4. The winner will receive 1 BarkBeats box to suit a pet of your choice. The prize will only be fulfilled by BarkBeats.
5. The winner will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
6. Closing date for the giveaway is Sunday 29/11/2015 at 23:59pm.

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions
Loquax – Home of The Lucky Duck
SuperLucky Blog Giveaways Linky
Competition Hunter – UK Competitions Community

Barking Rad – Handmade in Britain

Barking Rad is the UK’s coolest online pet shop offering a variety of handmade products, dog gift boxes and a monthly dog subscription service of trendy dog toys, homemade dog treats, dog grooming products and dog accessories for all hounds, both big and small.

We had the pleasure to review one of the Barking Rad subscription boxes.

So, what did we get?

Barking Rad – Handmade in BritainOur box contained:

  • Doggy donuts
  • Harry’s treats
  • “My Person Loves Me” toy
  • Skin & paw salve
  • Barkers Brew

All the products within the box are handmade in the UK. They are local, they have been created with love and using only the best ingredients or materials.

Did you know that there are no safety regulation on dog toys?

This actually came to me as a shock. I had no idea that dog toys are totally unregulated. This fact alone makes me want to shop with Barking Rad. They will do the job for me and pick only the best and safest products for my dogs.

So, how do we rate the box?

Well from the five items received four of them were spot on. The toy however was simply way too small for Lilly or Bunk to make any use of but luckily we have cats too and they seemed to enjoy it 😉

Barking Rad – Handmade in Britain - Skin & paw salveThe product which I liked the most was the skin & paw salve; packed with good ingredients including hemp oil it seems to work very well on small scratches and other skin irritations.

Barking Rad – Handmade in Britain - Doggy donutsAs for the dogs… well, I think they would vote paws up for the donuts to be their number one!

Barking Rad offers three different subscription options:

The Original – packed with on-trend accessories, fun toys, grooming products and delicious treats.

The Foodie One – all the goodies your pooch can eat; from nutritious dog treats to chunks of dried deli meats, handmade dog cakes and even dog beer.

The One for Allergies – full of hypoallergenic treats, fun toys, grooming products (mild and soothing for sore skin) and trendy accessories but that isn’t all… you will receive an email every month just to check if your dog isn’t allergic to anything within the already declared hypoallergenic box.

All those boxes are priced at £24.95 inclusive of p&p. You have to order before 14th of the month to get a current month box. If you miss the deadline your box will arrive in the following month.

I hope Barking Rad will expand their service and offer cat friendly boxes too in the future.

Have you ever came across Barking Rad?

What do you think about this subscription idea and its focus on being handmade in the UK only?

Can you hydrate your skin with rhubarb?

Can you hydrate your skin with rhubarb

Well, what do you think?

Can you hydrate your skin with rhubarb?

For the last week I’ve been trying the new Superskin Face Serum from Liz Earle, which contains rhubarb as one of the active ingredients. Not to worry, the serum isn’t just rhubarb based, it is actually packed with a lot of natural ingredients including: olive leaf, jujube, pomegranate and Persian silk extract.

Liz Earle Superskin Face Serum Active Ingredients

The full ingredients list includes: Aqua (water), Glycerin, Heptyl undecylenate, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Borago officinalis seed oil, Albizia julibrissin bark extract, Rosa rubiginosa seed oil, Propanediol, Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, Sclerotium gum, Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract, Citrus aurantium amara (petitgrain) leaf/twig oil, Lavandula hybrida (lavandin) oil, Anthemis nobilis flower oil, Rheum rhaponticum root extract, Zizyphus jujube seed extract, Punica granatum flower extract, Citrus aurantium amara (neroli) flower oil, Maltodextrin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium polyacrylate, Glyceryl behenate, Polyglyceryl-6 distearate, Xanthan gum, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Levan, Benzoic acid, Hydrolyzed algin, Linalool, Jojoba esters, Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cetyl alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 beeswax, Decyl glucoside, Alcohol, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Parfum (fragrance), Citric acid, Sodium benzoate, Geraniol, Limonene, Ascorbic acid, Phenylethyl alcohol, Citral.

I have reached that stage in my life when a serum becomes a necessity not a choice, if I want to keep my looks for longer. Having dry skin means that all those age related imperfections show even quicker on my skin due in part to the dryness. I need something which will not only slow the signs of aging but most of all I need something to help me keep the right levels of skin moisture.

I am pleased to say that Superskin Face Serum delivered everything as stated on the packaging! The serum does even skin tone as promised, it does lift and firm; it does plump and smooth but most of all it does keep tabs on skin hydration.

I’ve been using this serum for just one week but I am not able to fault it in any way. It is simply perfect.

Liz Earle Superskin Face SerumThe Superskin Face Serum comes in a pump bottle, which makes dispensing of it a pure pleasure and a very easy job.

The serum itself is kind of greyish / greenish in colour (it reminds me of olives, so maybe it could be said to have an olive colour). Its texture is not too thick and not to runny, it is just right for spreading with ease. As to the fragrance, well I am not able to put my finger on it, it is herby, not too strong; I am normally quite fragrance sensitive but this one doesn’t bother me at all, at first I even thought it may be fragrant free… but no, the fragrance is there it is just gentle and it really doesn’t stay all that long either.

Liz Earle Superskin Face SerumAfter application the Superskin Face Serum will leave your skin super smooth; you can really tell the difference between those parts of your skin where the serum wasn’t applied and where it was. The skin is really soft and it feels well moisturised. The serum is light and is absorbs into your skin within seconds, not minutes like some do; it has a non-sticky formula and it doesn’t leave any oily film on your skin also as some serums tend to do.

The Superskin Face Serum is priced at £48 for 30ml. It might not be super cheap but taking into consideration its ingredients and the fact that you only need one pump of it for a single application, I would say it is priced just right.

I can honestly recommend this serum. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Even the fact that it contains alcohol which normally would mean that it makes my skin even drier, doesn’t seem to have any effect this time. I guess another of the more active ingredients are counteracting the alcohol.

The Superskin Face Serum is a lovely product and if you are looking for a new skin serum to add into your daily routine then I suggest you look no further!

Have you ever used any Liz Earle products?

Which face serum would you recommend?

*I received this product for free as a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel.