Traditionally, choosing a laptop has been about compromise.
Kodak EasyShare Printer Dock Series 3
- Detail is superb, printing is relatively fast
- Printing is expensive
Kodak's Printer Dock 3 provides excellent quality photo prints at high speeds. However, this functionality proves to be expensive, with each print having a hefty cost.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Kodak's range of Printer Docks are thermal dye printers (also known as dye-sublimation printers). The result is an image that is essentially indistinguishable from prints from a commercial photo lab; detail is superb.
The Kodak passes the paper through the printer four times: once each for the three colours and a fourth time to put a protective coating on the print. The coating protects the print both from handling and the atmosphere, aiding print longevity. The Printer Dock's dye comes in a cartridge pack along with 40 sheets of paper. The cartridge is keyed to the number of pieces of paper--there's no eking out extra prints here. Also, before you insert the cartridge in the printer you must ensure the dye film is taut, which involves winding it on to take up any slack just like an audio cassette. You must be careful not to wind too much, however, as you can reduce the number of prints available.
The Printer Dock Series 3 is relatively speedy, with an average 4" x 6" print speed of 1 minute 39 seconds during our tests, which is relatively fast for a dye-sub printer. The downside to the Printer Dock 3's technology is the expense: the 40-sheet paper/cartridge kit costs $49.95, which works out at $1.25 per print.
Kodak's Printer Docks are primarily designed as docking stations for its range of EASYSHARE cameras, providing battery charging and image transfer to the PC in addition to printing. Previous versions of the device have allowed you to connect a USB card reader to print an image from non-Kodak cameras. The Printer Dock Series 3, however, is the first in the series to support the new Imagelink system. ImageLink, a standard introduced by a consortium of digital camera manufacturers, allows the Printer Dock to be used with ImageLink-compatible cameras, making it a better option for non-Kodak owners.
The Printer Dock isn't as compact as many inkjet printers, because when in use its paper cassette sticks out the front and you need to leave some space behind as the paper is passed out the back several centimetres during printing. There's a USB port for connecting to a PC and another for connecting a PictBridge-capable device (such as a camera) or a USB card reader. You don't get an LCD screen, because the LCD of a docked camera operates as your preview screen.
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