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Customer Review

262 of 270 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less pence, more prints..., 20 April 2010
This review is from: Kodak ESP3250 All-in-one Printer (Electronics)
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Finally, ink refills that cost less than the printer does! It's about time a printer manufacturer broke rank and moved away from the 'razors & blades' business model of the competition. Kodak seem to have partly kept the cost of ink cartridges down by separating the print-heads into a separate unit. There's no indication of how long the print-head unit might last or what it might cost to replace and it could turn out to be the hidden cost of this printer, but at least in the meantime quality prints are actually affordable. Setting up and installing the ESP-3250 is straightforward, thanks to the large-format and well-illustrated handbooks Kodak have included. Compared to the bundled CD software, significantly updated versions of the drivers and printer firmware were available on Kodak's website (for both OSX 10.6 and Windows 7) and both installed without any problems.

On Windows the 'Kodak Home Centre' is a complete integrated solution which allows you to set your own defaults for the device, run maintenance utilities, get help and also serves as a launchpad for the printing and scanning functions, with easy walkthroughs of basic scanning and/or photo-retouching and printing tasks.

On the Mac the Home Centre allows you to change settings, get help and set defaults but does not include direct access to scanning or printing, instead it's well integrated into OSX itself. For example you can initiate and control a scan from within Preview or Image Capture or any other scanner-aware application.

Used as a standalone device, you can make copies of documents or photos or print pictures straight from your camera memory card using the comprehensive onboard controls and the card-reader (which can also transfer pic's to your computer). When your computer's on you can also initiate a scan from the printer itself and the clever (optional) 'auto-detect' feature will find multiple images and save each one as a separate file. The scanner isn't exactly prepress quality but it's pretty good for a combo device in this price range.

The biggest surprise, good and not-so-good, was the print quality. On plain paper the print quality isn't very special, text seems bloated-looking and the printer seems to use far too much ink. It's not particularly fast either unless you print in Draft mode, which uses a lot less ink and might be the best choice if you just need a quick printout for your files. As you might hope with a Kodak device, photo-printing is much better and the results using good quality photo-paper are really excellent. Colour rendition (using Kodaks's inbuilt RGB~CMYK translation) is generally very good, although strong greens tend to get a bit washed out. Printing full colour borderless photo's only seems to take slightly longer than printing a page of plain text and the results are worth waiting for. Using Kodak's own photo paper the prints are also more moisture resistant than some and don't smudge or fingermark as easily - they do look and feel more like photo-lab prints than inkjet prints.

With unimpressive plain-paper performance it's debatable if the ESP-3250 would make the best choice for a home office. But if you need a family printer, suitable for the occasional homework assignment, with the ability to produce really excellent prints of your digital photo's then it could be a great choice - just don't forget the USB 2.0 A/B Cable.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jun 2010 12:55:27 BDT
O E J says:
Thanks markymix, lots of useful info there.
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