Kodak ESP 7 inkjet multifunction

Kodak's mid-range inkjet multifunction is easy to use but prints slowly

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Kodak ESP 7
  • Kodak ESP 7
  • Kodak ESP 7
  • Kodak ESP 7

Pros

  • Wi-Fi connectivity, easy to use, automatic duplexing, separate photo paper tray

Cons

  • Slow print speeds, poor colour document print quality, can't perform multiple tasks simultaneously

Bottom Line

Kodak's ESP 7 inkjet multifunction printer has cheap consumables and is easy to use, but slow print speeds and generally poor print quality dampen its appeal.

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Aimed at home users, Kodak's ESP 7 inkjet multifunction printer can connect to a wireless network and automatically print double-sided documents. It also has a low price tag compared to multifunctions with similar feature sets. It is easy to set up, but slow print speeds and poor print quality make other multifunctions a more attractive proposition.

The Kodak ESP 7 inkjet multifunction has a glossy black finish and an attractive, minimalist style. Two card reader slots on the front support SD, CompactFlash, MemoryStick, xD media, and there is a PictBridge USB port to attach compatible digital cameras and mobile phones. On the back you'll find USB and Ethernet ports, and the printer also has Wi-Fi connectivity.

The main paper tray holds a total of 100 A4 sheets, while a dedicated photo paper tray can hold 40 sheets of 4x6in and 5x7in photo paper. The main tray can be extracted independently from the output tray, which means you can replenish paper while a page is printing.

Instead of broadcasting its own wireless network as some printers do (the Brother HL-5370DW mono laser printer, for example), the Kodak ESP 7 inkjet multifunction must join an existing Wi-Fi network. The lack of a physical keyboard or keypad makes joining password-protected wireless networks a lengthy but simple process. There is no remote Web-based interface accessible over Ethernet or Wi-Fi, so interaction with the printer is entirely through the included software or the control panel.

The ESP 7's multitasking capabilities are nonexistent. Once you initiate a task all buttons except "Cancel" become unresponsive. It lacks an automatic document feeder but it does have automatic duplexing (so you can produce doubled-sided printouts in order to cut down on paper use).

Printing is disappointingly slow. The time for the first page of a document to print varied from 26sec (using draft quality) to 41sec (using normal). Our mono test document printed at an average rate of 12.4 pages per minute in draft quality; this slowed to 3.9ppm at normal. Colour documents printed at 11.8ppm in draft and 3.1ppm in normal quality.

By contrast, the speed of photo printing is acceptable: 4x6in photos printed in 37sec, while A4 photos took roughly 2min to print.

There are no noticeable aberrations in monochrome documents but characters are bolder than necessary and don't have the clarity that higher quality inkjet printers like the HP Officejet 6500 Wireless offer. Colour documents are better, though when printing on coloured backgrounds there was a white shadow around text characters.

The quality of photos varies greatly depending on the photo paper used. When using high quality Epson photo paper and third-party software, photos exhibited heavy banding and overly light colours. Banding problems were reduced when the photos were printed on Kodak's photo paper using the accompanying photo suite; banding was still slightly noticeable on dark to light gradients. Overall, the colour palette lacks any real vibrancy. The inability to configure specific photo quality settings may be frustrating for enthusiasts. Photos are disappointing overall, and certainly pale in comparison to the output from the likes of HP Photosmart C5380.

Scanning is fast and the results are quite detailed, though colour can be somewhat inconsistent. The 2400ppi resolution lets you scan documents and photos at an acceptable quality for home use.

Consumables are cheap for an inkjet multifunction, with an average cost of 10.8c per page. This approaches the average running costs of a mid-range laser printer.

There are numerous issues plaguing the Kodak ESP 7. We like the ease of use and automatic duplex capability, but its inability to multitask, its print speed and poor print quality left a sour taste in our mouth.

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