The Good Improved photo quality over previous model; attractive design; large 3-inch LCD screen; easy-to-use Home Center software.
The Bad Poor quality build with several mechanical errors; average print speed; graphics quality still lacks definition.
The Bottom Line The Kodak ESP5 is an attractive full color all-in-one printer, scanner, and copier, and casual photo enthusiasts will be happy with the watered-down editing software, but hard-core users should look elsewhere for a multifunction printer. The ESP5 is too expensive and suffers from too many mechanical deficiencies for us to give it our CNET stamp of approval.
Kodak ESP 5
The simplistic design, barebones editing software, and lack of features peg the $170 Kodak ESP5 as an entry level all-in-one printer. Unfortunately, you can do much better for the money; for example, the HP OfficeJet J6480 is meant for the home office, but still produces excellent quality photos and even includes a fax machine with an autofeeder for just $30 more. The inflated price tag and mechanical deficiencies prevent us from recommending Kodak ESP5.
Design and Features
The printer has the same simple black design as the ESP3, its cheaper cousin that lacks the LCD screen. The perforated scanner cover adds an elegant touch and the smaller footprint (6.9 inches tall by 16.6 inches wide by 11.8 inches deep) will easily fit into tight quarters, but the majority of the printer is made of a light plastic that gives the device a flimsy and delicate feel. When you raise the cover to reveal the ink bay, a thin plastic arm pops up and braces the cover, similar to the hood of a car. The mechanism requires two hands to close and is an overall poor design choice; it's almost guaranteed to break over time, and we're not sure why Kodak didn't just use a standard spring-mounted lid. Also, the cover on top of the scanner bed folds on a fixed hinge that doesn't reach over thicker items like large books.
The printer industry has slowly started to steer more toward photo printers with five individual color ink cartridges for less waste, but the ESP5 still retains the standard-size ink cartridge bay: one for black and one for five different colors. The Kodak Web site reports 10 cents per color photo, a relatively decent price for the average inkjet printer. In addition, Kodak sells three different printing bundles that include black and color ink cartridges as well as several types of paper.
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