Kodak's latest all-in-one adds wireless networking to its already impressive features list. Is it the perfect all-rounder?
We assume that the 'ESP' in its name stands for 'EasyShare Printer' rather than 'Extra-Sensory Perception' but, all the same, Kodak's latest all-in-one does a pretty good job of second-guessing what exactly it is you want to do with your images.
This is largely because Kodak takes the 'all' part of the hardware genre very seriously. You'll struggle to find another home photo lab that does quite so many things for quite the same price.
As well as a very accurate and sharp 2400x9600dpi printer, it boasts a 2400ppi scan, two paper trays, a card reader, LCD screen and full duplex unit. The real reason to like it, though, is the built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet ports – you can send shots to this printer from, quite literally, anywhere.
Like most of Kodak's products, it's designed to be as easy to use as possible. The menu system is unobstructively excellent and the driver software both simple and fully featured.
There's just two cartridges inside to worry about replacing, too. Despite the fact all five photo colours are combined in one tank, at just £8 for a refill that lasts for a hundred 6x4 photos or so, it's still fairly economical to run.
Overly natural colours
The actual photos themselves are a slightly refined taste – the colour balance defaults to a very natural look, which sounds good but most people subconsciously prefer the more vivid tones of Canon's Pixma range, or the deep, inky blacks of Epson's Stylus prints. Relying on Kodak's engine to decide the look can leave pics feeling a bit washed out.
It's also not the fastest photo producer around. Printing from a memory card or via USB will get you a print back in just over a minute, but sending image data over a local network is painstakingly slow. It's way into 'make yourself a cup of tea' territory, and suggests a lack of buffer memory on the unit itself.
The ESP 7’s sheer simplicity compensates well, though, and providing you don't need your pictures 'now, Now, NOW!' it's also a good-looking machine that doesn't take up too much room on your desk.
Kodak ESP-7 review
Not quite the quickest or best all-in-one, but well designed and extremely versatile for the price