The printer ships with a helpful driver disc that walks you through the installation process and includes Kodak's All-in-One Home Center software. The Home Center acts as a hub for the copy, print, and scan functions. The copy feature is easy to navigate and offers a unique collage copy setting that duplicates several pictures in the same orientation as the originals. The scanning center is simple as well, but lacks the option to scan directly to a fax, so you have to first save the photo to your computer and initiate a fax from there.
The new Home Center also lets you print stereoscopic 3D images, which means you'll need a pair of red and blue sunglasses (not included) to see them pop. Kodak sent us a pair to test the technology with and told us that future models will ship with the sunglasses packaged with the unit.
The process of printing out a 3D snapshot photo is simple, but you have to plan for the 3D in advance by taking two shots of the same image: one with the subject centered and another 3 inches over. The software simply combines the two pictures into one image and prints it out. Kodak claims the 3D functionality makes the 2170 an equal draw for business as well as consumers, but we can't imagine the average consumer printing more than a few of them before the novelty wears off.
The ESP 2170 neither impressed nor disappointed us with the results of its output speed tests. As you can see in the chart below, it registered roughly average speeds across the presentation, photo printing, graphics, and text categories, so we have little to complain about in terms of its new print engine. Compared with the Canon Pixma MX410, the 2170 trades slower photo and text document results for faster graphics and PowerPoint presentation output.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed||Photo speed||Graphics speed||Text speed|
The ESP 2170 uses a similar cartridge design to the C310, but the tricolor cartridge adds an extra vibrancy to photos and graphics-heavy documents. We still noticed some blotchiness and transparency in skin tones, but we wouldn't expect perfect accuracy in a three-ink system regardless.
The photo print came out the best out of all the tests, with acceptable saturation levels for business documents. Scan quality also came out well, but retained the dark compression issues we saw in the C310's prints. Finally, the color scan produced accurate results--if perhaps a little too bright--but the overall impression was sharp and defined.
Service and support
Kodak supports the ESP 2170 with a one-year manufacturer's warranty with toll-free phone and online-chat tech support available every day. The Kodak Web site provides access to manuals, driver downloads, troubleshooting tips, graphic tutorials, and a list of frequently asked questions.
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