When we purchased our new Epson XP202 printer in the summer of last year we were more than happy with purchasing unbranded ink cartridges especially as our printing requirements were quite low. The cartridges were reasonably priced when making a comparison with those produced by Epson although as our printing needs increased we found that we were buying them much more frequently and as a result, the costs were significantly rising.
In order to significantly reduce the amount of money we were spending on ink, my husband suggested we research continuous ink systems although I cannot admit to being keen on the idea as I could vividly recall one that he had when we first met. The bottles were tall and unsteady and would frequently topple with the slightest touch and as a result, ink spillages were a common occurrence. As I didn't have a clue on ink systems, my husband offered to carry out the research and he came up with the Fotorite Ciss Continuous Ink System XP102, so our purchase was made with this review discussing our experience with using.
WHAT IS THE FOTORITE CISS CONTINUOUS INK SYSTEM?
The ink system comprises of a sturdy transparent plastic unit, which consists of four separate sections for each of the different colours of pigmented ink, which replace black, cyan, magenta and yellow and these act as a continuous supply by delivering ink via the connected tubes. Unlike my husband's previous ink system, the plastic unit is unobtrusive and firmly sits adjacent to the printer and can easily withstand knocks as it's near on impossible to fall over.
The four plastic tubes are of a good length as well as being extremely narrow and they have been tightly bound together to form a width of approximately 2½ cm, which gives the appearance of coloured ribbon. This resolves the issues that my husband previously experienced where the tubes would appear unsightly and often become tangled. I would point out here that there are several variations of the Ciss Continuous Ink System as it can be purchased without inks, but we opted to receive all four inks.
SETTING UP THE SYSTEM
I have to admit that I didn't set up the system, as I felt really apprehensive about doing so for fear of doing something wrong and as my husband is technically minded, he had a good idea of what he needed to do. Eager to learn, I observed my husband setting up the system, which took approximately half an hour and he initially removed the original ink cartridges from our printer and replaced with the four cartridges contained within the box with the ink system.
The length of ribbon consisting of the four separate ink tubes splits at the opposite end of the ink bottles and each tube needed to be carefully clipped under the corresponding cartridge locking slot. We also received an installation disc that needed to be inserted into our computer. Whilst I do not intend discussing each of the individual steps, there are various prompts. The ink system is accompanied by a battery operated circuit board with full installation instructions included on the accompanying instruction sheet, which displays some useful colourful images.
USING THE SYSTEM
Printing is identical to when using ordinary cartridges and when a document or photograph has been sent to print, you are able to witness the different colour inks being drawn from the transparent plastic unit. We carry out a range of printing, such as coloured documents, photographs and over the last few months my husband has been adding transfers to white tee shirts with fantastic results. Fotorite have used premium grade ciss pigment inks for American raw materials, which have been created to a high standard to ensure vivid output. UV absorber components have been used to prolong the lifetime of the ink. I was interested to learn that the inks have been created to a higher standard than generic inks.
An occasional issue with unbranded inks is that they can blotch, but this is not something we have ever experienced nor have there been any problems with the tubes clogging. The entire system is lightweight and I am easily able to lift the ink unit to clean underneath without disturbing any of the colours or tubing. The colours on all of our printing are to a high quality whether it is documents or photographs and whilst we have compromised on price, the system certainly does not compromise on results.
We have needed to refill some of the colours since our purchase with refill bottles being readily available. It's simply a case of unscrewing the lid of the relevant ink and syringing in the replacement ink without any mess.
COST AND AVAILABILITY
The outlay of the system was £59.99 including VAT and we made our purchase from City Ink Express with our parcel arriving only two days after our online order. Whilst this may seem expensive, the system is far cheaper than using the unbranded inks that we were previously purchasing at a cost of approximately £24 for a pack of four colours.
Fotorite claim that each cartridge, which contains 100 ml of ink, roughly works out at a cost of 60p when comparing with the same amount of ink with an unbranded name. It would be impossible for me to advise how long the system will last, as obviously it depends on the individual needs, but we have found that the inks will last a good few months with a fair amount of heavy printing. Replacement ink bottles are available at approximately £10 per bottle although since purchasing ours I have found them cheaper on ebay.
The Fotorite Ciss Continuous Ink System carries a 12 month warranty on parts and a lifetime warranty on technical support, which is extremely reassuring although we have never needed to contact them, as the system has not failed. Fotorite claiming that the pigment ink has a high light stability with users being able to expect between twenty and eighty years before noticing fading in colour. Obviously, this is a claim I am unable to evidence unless I return to update this review within the next twenty to eighty years when I reach the grand old age of 146.
Due to the reasons discussed above, I cannot fault the Fororite Ciss Continuous Ink System, as it has saved us a fortune in replacement inks and as a result, it receives five stars from me together with a high recommendation.
I hope you found my review useful and thanks for reading.