Last year's Kodak EasyShare Printer Dock 6000, one of a pair of portable 4x6-inch-photo printers that represented Kodak's first foray into the world of direct-printing devices, cranked out top-notch output in our tests. But it was missing some important on-the-go components; chiefly a battery pack and a card slot. With the latest version, the Printer Dock Plus ($199.95 list), Kodak adds what the 6000 lacked and introduces a twist for this product category: direct printing from your cell phone.
Upside: In addition to direct printing from a memory card or a compatible EasyShare camera, the new Dock supports the PictBridge standard for direct printing from supported cameras from other manufacturers. Of course, the big news is that you can print wirelessly from your cell phone. While we doubt consumers have been clamoring for prints of crappy cell phone snapshots, we give props to Kodak for its forward thinking. If it maintains the quality of the 6000's 4x6 photos, we'll probably be just as impressed with the Plus.
Downside: The 6000's print-per-page costs were on the high side, ranging from 49 cents to 79 cents, depending on the quantity of paper purchased. Compare that to the Epson PictureMate, which keeps the cost to as little as 29 cents per picture. We'll see if Kodak manages to bring its numbers down with the Printer Dock Plus.
Outlook: Kodak apparently listened when we complained about the 6000's lack of mobile printing options. The Printer Dock Plus looks great on paper. We'll see if the photos do as well once we get it into the lab.