Kodak PM200

The Picture Maker can be used as a standard PC printer, but it's really intended for photo-quality colour reproduction, rather than run-of-the-mill documents. Its stand-alone capability means that you can preview, edit and print photographs directly from the most common digital photo media, without recourse to an external computer.

Kodak has taken some features from its digital camera range and rolled them into the PM200. The black casing houses an LCD screen, which lets you preview and modify pictures before printing. Built-in memory slots take CompactFlash Type 1 and SmartMedia memory cards, though the printer doesn't support Sony's Memory Stick, or CompactFlash Type II devices such as IBM's MicroDrive.

The backlit LCD screen sits at the top right-hand corner of the printer, and a four-way 'navipad' lets you negotiate the on-screen display information. You can view, resize and crop images, set paper type and print resolution, and set up layouts for proof sheets or panoramic views, all from within the printer itself.

The 1200x1200dpi print resolution is good, but ought to have been higher. We took an uncompressed TIFF picture with a 3.3 megapixel camera, then printed it at A4 size at the highest quality setting. It took half an hour, so this is no speed demon. Though the detail was great, we weren't enamoured of the Color Rich Technology feature, which had a tendency to over-saturate colours.

This printer is expensive in every sense, from the purchase price through to ink costs and page coverage. Its in-built processor and LCD screen will satisfy those who want to produce photo-quality prints from a digital camera without using a PC. However, it can't compete for quality with 'dumb' inkjet printers - which require a computer to handle image downloading and editing - in the same price range.

Kodak PM200

Price: $549; Phone: 1300 130 674; URL: www.kodak.com.au

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