Software Imaging – InkSaver 2 review

reduce the amount of ink your printer uses
Photo of Software Imaging – InkSaver 2
£25

Though the debate over the value of inkjet ink cartridges will run and run, there’s little doubt that they’re pricey. Typical costs for the four coloured inks in a general-purpose inkjet printer is £40 to £60; even more with the latest six, seven and eight colour photo printers. Anything that can reduce these running costs has a lot of potential and InkSaver 2 has no other purpose in life.

The idea behind InkSaver 2 is simple – the cleverness is all in the maths. The utility sits between your application’s print dialog and your printer’s driver. It uses specially developed algorithms to improve the quality of what is effectively draft print. By actually placing less ink on the paper for a given piece of text or an image, the program saves you ink… and hence money.

The quality of the printouts we obtained using InkSaver 2 is remarkable. For savings of up to 20 percent, you have to look closely to notice any difference in print quality and even at 30 percent there’s only very slight colour fading. Moving up to 50 percent, with similar ink usage to a draft print through the Epson driver, the print quality, particularly of images, was significantly better using InkSaver 2.

InkSaver 2 works with most inkjet printers and if you have more than one connected to your PC, you can set it up to work with each of them. The controls are embarrassingly simple; there’s a slider and a check box. You pull the slider up and down to set the level of ink savings between none and 75 percent, and you use the box to choose whether to use your selected saving on all prints or pop-up the dialogue box so that you can set it each time you start a new print job.

The second tab on the InkSaver 2 dialogue enables you to enter the average cost of the ink cartridges for your particular printer and the number you get through each year. It then shows the estimated savings you will make using the program at various different saving levels. On our Epson Stylus C84, where the black cartridge costs £21.44 and the three colour cartridges cost a total of £29.52, the program estimates a saving of £25.48 per year, if you get through a modest two sets of cartridges.

This means that using just eight cartridges in a year will save you the cost of the program. After that, you’re making roughly the same savings as you would by buying third-party ink cartridges, but you’re still using original Epson ink.

Company: Software Imaging

Contact: 0870 240 5934


Verdict
A saving of around £12 on every new set of ink cartridges you buy means InkSaver 2 really will pay its way. We'd rather use it than third-party or refilled cartridges.