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Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One Inkjet Printer Review

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One Inkjet Printer Review - Matt Grayson takes a look at the shiny new Kodak ESP 9 All-In-One printer.

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Category : Inkjet Printers
Product : Kodak ESP 9
Price : £250
Rating :
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Kodak ESP 9 All-in-OneKodak ESP 9: Specification

  • Max document size: A4
  • Print speed: 32ppm (pages per min.)
  • Ink system/type: Dual tank
  • Monitor: 3in. LCD
  • Quantity of inks: Five colour, black
  • Resolution: 9600dpi (optimised)
  • Capacity: 100 plain, 40 photo sheets
  • PictBridge: Yes
  • Roll media: No
  • CD/DVD printing: No
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0, Ethernet, WiFi, Card reader
  • Size: 446x254x432mm
  • Weight: 9.9kg

Kodak ESP 9: Installation
Installation for either platform comes loaded on one CD which is better for storage later. From selecting the language (English UK is available but English USA is default), full installation takes ten minutes.

Windows

  • MICROSOFT VISTA or WINDOWS XP-Home (SP2 or above)
  • CPU: Celeron
  • Clock speed: 1.2GHz
  • Memory: 512 Mb
  • Hard disk: 200 Mb free
  • CD-ROM

Mac

  • MACINTOSH OS 10.4.8 or higher
  • CPU: POWERPC G4, G5 or INTEL-based MAC
  • Clock speed: 1.2GHz
  • Memory: 512 Mb
  • Hard disk: 200 MB free
  • Removable drive: CD-ROM

Because this is a printer that has ethernet and wifi capability, Kodak have taken full advantage of the fact and when it's installing will ask you if you'd prefer to link to the internet to see if any updates are available for the download.

I selected to just install from the CD and quickly clicked past the terms and conditions. It means that installation could take longer if you choose the internet version of installing or if you like to read fully through the terms and conditions which I would always recommend you do.

One nice touch is that the CD will start to install while it asks if you'd like to register. This means that you're not wasting time while you register your product.

After installing, the printer gives instructions on how to prepare it for work such as loading the inks and paper.

Once everything is loaded in correctly, the printer will ask you to load some plain paper for it to calibrate. This takes a minute or two then the printer is ready to go.

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
The inside of the printer where the inks are kept and all the magic is made.
Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
The new control panel is a light touch screen version
Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
In the unlikely event of a paper jam, the rear of the printer is easily removed to sort it out.

Kodak ESP 9: Features
The ESP9 is from a range of the best looking printers I've seen in a long time. It's black, reflective, shiny and smooth with a sensitive articulated touch screen and minimalistic card reader. A tray sits on top for faxing which then lifts up to expose the flatbed scanner. Lifting the second portion reveals the “guts” of the printer with the ink tanks and printing area.

There are two paper trays at the bottom of the printer which have been designed to sit one inside the other to save space and a smaller area at the top of the tray extends to collect the finished paper.

To the right is the card reader which accepts four separate card types (the specifications will undoubtedly list around 15 but they will be different types of the same card such as MMC, SD and SDHC). Below the card reader is the Pictbridge port for if you decide not to use the card reader for whatever reason or if you have an older camera with an obsolete format such as Smartmedia. If you do decide to use Pictbridge, the images will be shown on the camera instead of the printer. Interestingly, you can't connect more than one media at a time or the printer will flag an error.

Kodak market the ESP9 as having the first 10in touchscreen control panel which certainly makes the printer look more advanced and everything can be done from here including faxing. From the left, the power button sits in the top left corner with network icon and wifi light below. These will light up when the printer is connected. The 3in screen is brighter than other screens I've seen on printers which will help when doing stand alone printing. A large navigation pad sits centrally for making your way through the menu systems and the ok button in the centre confirms any commands. The menu button is smaller than I'd expect considering the amount of use it will get and after the cancel and start buttons is a telephone numeric keypad for faxing.
 

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
All ports are sat together on the back of the printer. Kodak recommend prioritising the front USB port for linking to a computer.

On the back there's two telephone lines for incoming and outgoing calls, a USB port, Ethernet port , power jack plug and the printer is also capable of WiFi connectivity. If that's not enough connectivity options for you, the front USB port highlighted as Pictbridge will also accept a bluetooth dongle. However, the dongle is made by Kodak for Kodak. It's specifically designed to work with all-in-one printers and doesn't even work with Kodak printer docks or other Kodak printers.

Despite scouring the box and contents I couldn't find any sign of, or reference to, a user manual. This could be because it's at the top end of the range and is targeted at consumers who know how to use this type of hardware. If that is the case then it's wrong for Kodak to assume this if their customers. I eventually found it on the support area of the ESP9 web page.

Kodak ESP 9: Build and handling
At 9kg, it's a little lighter than other all in one printers I've reviewed such as the Epson PX700W which is 11.1kg or the RX685 at 12kg. The footprint is smaller than the PX700W and roughly the same, albeit bigger than the RX685.

You can zoom into images and crop them for printing. It's done in the menu under print photos option and the great thing is that the crop you choose won't be saved to the image after printing which means you still have the full sized image if you'd like to do any other editing later.

I like the build quality of the printer, it's solid and firm. The hinged doors are secure with no play in them at all. The buttons on the control pad light up in a futuristic blue giving a darkened room an eerie glow. The control panel is hinged for articulation and will lock into place at around 45 degrees. To release it and set it back into place, a small locking clasp is found under the panel which is pulled slightly allowing the panel to swing back down.

Kodak ESP 9: Performance
Printing
Printing an A4 colour photo on Kodak Premium Photo Paper at best possible quality from cold takes three minutes. In the meantime, when it's warm that time will reduce to just over two minutes which is around a minute and a half less than the Epson RX685 from cold and around half the time from warm. Not a bad result at all and it's quiet! Apart from some cranky grinding noises at the beginning where I thought the printer was going to fall apart, the actual process of printing surprises me.

I like the results that I got from the ESP9 with vivid blues on the sky of the statue image and accurate reproduction of skin tones on the portrait shot.

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
Scanning the prints haven't done them justice and it's especially noticeable on the portrait.
Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
The colours of the sky were printed out nicely on this shot of a statue.

There are plenty of different settings for you to choose that will affect the way the colours are reproduced. I've set them out below using the standard colour test chart image I use in all printer tests.

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
No management Relative colorimetric.
Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
Photoshop management Relative colorimetric.
 Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
Printer management Relative colorimetric.
 Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
Printer management Absolute colorimetric.
 Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
Printer management Perceptual setting.
 Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
Printer management Saturation setting.

 

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
I also printed out a macro shot of some barnacles I took to see if it coped with fine detail of smaller subjects. It coped well with the image and there's no hint of printing problems occuring anywhere in the image.
Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One
I printed the Agfa shot in Adobe RGB and sRGB.

I also printed out the Agfa test shot and it's given a really goods result. Fonts can be read all the way down to the smallest size on both block colours and point lines are clearly defined.

Scanning
From cold, a low resolution preview only takes a few seconds and a even a full scan, although distinctly longer, is still faster than any other scanner I've come across. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be able to keep up with needs of a decent scan result of today's consumer. Selfish of us, I know and we all ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

The results of the scan were banded, grainy and such a low quality that I rescanned the images in on an Epson perfection 3200 flatbed scanner to ensure decent results.

Kodak ESP 9: Verdict
If the ESP9 wasn't an all in one and simply offered printing or printing and faxing, it would be a sterling unit. The printing performance is fast, smooth and precise with some lovely pictures being produced. Scanning is an altogether different matter and I've split the performance into printing and scanning because the rating won't show a fair appraisal otherwise.

Without the scanner, I would recommend this printer so if you don't need a flatbed then take a look at it. However, you could also go for the lower models and a separate fax machine.

Kodak ESP 9: Plus points
Beautiful styling
WiFi enabled
Ethernet enabled
Memory card reader
Pictbridge enabled
Fabulous printing
Fast and quiet
Built in fax
Built in duplexer for double sided printing

Kodak ESP 9: Minus points
Scanning is really poor quality
User manual isn't readily available
Control panel is flawed

FEATURES

HANDLING

PRINT PERFORMANCE

SCAN PERFORMANCE

OVERALL



The Kodak ESP 9 All-In-One printer costs around £250 from the Kodak website. Click the lionk for more details:

Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One printer


 

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Comments


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