Friday, November 19, 2010

...Kodak "Fair Priced Ink" Printers (ESP series printers)

Kodak ESP Printers
Quality: 5 of 5
Value: 5 of 5
Features: 5 of 5
Overall: 5 of 5
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ESP 5250 | ESP 7250 | Black Ink 10XL | Color Ink 10c
Anyone who owns an inkjet knows how terrible ink costs can get. Kodak attempts to solve this issue with their "fair priced ink" printers, the ESP series of printers. The problem is, often times with cheap ink, you get cheap results, and noone wants to spend a hundred dollars or more on a printer to find out the print quality is trash.

I purchased a Kodak ESP 7250 at the beginning of the year for school, hoping it performed at least as well as my Canon and Epson printers previously.

I was very surprised, because it not only met, but exceeded my expectations of a photo printer. One of the common problems with printers that include the print head directly on the ink cartridge (as HP printers) is that the print quality for every printer in the series is identical, and often times lower than the quality of printers that the print head is part of the printer itself (Canon, Epson) but the Kodak ESP printers do a really excellent job with the print head on their ink cartridges. The advantage to this, is that you get a new, clean print head with every ink cartridge, helping prevent long term issues like clogging.

This particular model also features a built in scanner and wifi connectivity, as well as a color display and several memory slots. The printer handles the memory slots very well, and has nice direct printing options if you own a camera but not a computer (rare as that is these days).

It has two paper trays, one for small photo sheets, and a full size tray for regular or photo paper. It also sports a built in duplexer for double-sided printing, very handy for reducing paper. Another neat feature is the printer's ability to detect specially coded Kodak papers and adjust the ink flow, drying time, and color correction to get the best results. This works with any Kodak papers that have the grey or yellow bars on the back.

The print quality on draft is as good as I've seen on normal with all of my previous printers. The printer comes with economy cartridges which didn't last very long, but for replacement ink cartridges I recommend buying the large size instead of the economy size, they'll last a good deal longer and are quite affordable, in the $10-$20 range for each black and color cartridges.

The wifi was fairly easy to set up, although putting in a wifi key takes a bit of time, and both the printer and scanner work well over wifi or USB. The only downside I found was that the scanner over wifi requires using Kodak's utility, while over USB any scanning software works fine.

All in all, I'm very happy with these new printers. While the ink isn't lasting quite as long as the pricier inks, they're much more affordable even after considering the couple extra cartridges a year you may need.

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