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Top up at will... ink tank printer from Brother
Brother DCP-T500W: Fill-up-and-go inkjet tank printer

Brother continues the industry  trend of inkjet printers you can refill at will

Bangalore, June 8 2015: A  classic ad campaign launched in the 1960s  by Avis, the  world's 2nd largest car rental company after Hertz,  had a famous  tag line: 'When you're no. 2, you try harder'.  I can sense a similar sentiment  in the inkjet  printer business, where the mantra seems to be: 'If you launch later, you try to be better'.

Last year  Epson  became the first  printer maker to bring  refillable ink tanks to its consumer inkjet range. Now, another Japanese player,  Brother has followed suit -- and  it has made a virtue of its later entry into this slot, by carefully studying its competition and trying  to improve the user experience of  filling 4  ink  tanks  from separate bottles,   with some thoughtful design features.

The Brother DCP-T500W is a  wireless  multi-function ( print-scan -copy) machine  which  promises to churn out  prints at between 6   and 27  pages a minutes depending on  mode ( colour or monochrome) and quality setting.   Thanks to its wireless  option,  you can latch it to your home office  WiFi hot spot and print  from any nearby PC, laptop or even a phone. In fact  you can use the Google Cloud Print feature to  send a document for printing from anywhere,  through the Internet.  

All this is fairly standard for wireless multi functions.   The change is the ability to refill any or all of the  four print tanks  ( 3 colours plus black)   from squeeze bottles you buy separately.   And here is where Brother  has tried to  improve the ergonomics:   The embedded tanks have been accommodated  in the overall   printer  body, rather than sticking out on one side and increasing the floor space.  More usefully, you can tilt the tanks  by 45 degrees so that you can pour fresh ink  without spilling.

Brother  says  you can get  6000 A4 sized  black and white prints   and 5000 coloured pages from one set of refill bottles.   Since the bottles cost Rs 670 ( black) and Rs 440 ( each colour)  this itself is a considerable saving over  competing ink cartridge systems and even a small improvement over Brother's own  cartridge printers.    I am always wary about claims of price per printed page --  since this is near impossible to  prove or disprove for most of us.  But  even if the actual price were higher than Brother's claim of   10 paise per monochrome page and 24 paise per coloured page -- it still represents a significantly lower cost of ownership for  users like you and me. 

The asking price of the DCP T500W  is a reasonable  Rs 12,150. For me, going for  a tank refill inkjet at this price  -- just a couple of thousand rupees over a cartridge type  -- is a no brainer. 

If you don't need the wireless function,  the DCP -T300,    otherwise  similar to  the T500W,  comes cheaper at Rs 11,100.

As another   classic ad, for a petrol brand in India, famously said, maybe it's time to "Fill up and feel the difference!"  -- Anand Parthasarathy