“We all have a printer story. They run out of ink at the worst possible time, or worse, nag us about running low on ink when there’s plenty left,” Wilson Rothman reports for The Wall Street Journal. “So how much would you pay for a printer that doesn’t run out?”

“Epson, the maker of my nightmare printer, has finally put an end to the horror of ink cartridges, at least for people willing to throw cash at the problem up front,” Rothman reports. “The five new EcoTank series printers look like normal models, only they have containers on their sides that hold gobs and gobs of ink. How much? Years’ worth. Enough that your children—or at least mine—could go on a two-hour coloring-page-printing bender and you wouldn’t even notice.”

“Most people buy printers by price: $100 is the magic number for anybody but a photo enthusiast, and printer makers like it that way,” Rothman reports. “They lose money on the hardware and make it up on ink.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yep, it’s razors and razor blades.

“When you buy an EcoTank printer—for instance, the ET-2550, which closely resembles Epson’s XP-420 — you fill up its four-chambered reservoir with ink from plastic containers included with the printer,” Rothman reports. “Fast forward two very print-productive years. You and your family have churned out more than 35 black-and-white and 60 color pages every week. Finally, you need more ink. Epson will sell you a whole set of replacement canisters for $52… The old model is out the window. Epson’s not trying to make money on ink this time around, because it’s charging you up front for the printer. The ET-2550 costs $400; its big brother, the ET-4550, which has a fax, a sheet feeder and Ethernet, costs $500.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s saving HP et al. from soiling their collective pants over this is that people, in general and en masse, suck at recognizing ROI. The great unwashed gravitate like lemmings to the lowest price tag, even when that purchase costs them significantly more – in money, lost time, and frustration – over the life of the product. See: Windows PCs, Android phones, entry-level automobiles, etc.

Those who can do the math will choose these Epson printers. Most people cannot, or will not, do the math and so, they will not. They’ll grab a $100 printer that gobbles ink cartridges like candy and spend more over its lifetime than they would have on a $500 Epson ET-4550.