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Kodak ESP 7 All-In-One Printer review: Kodak ESP 7 All-In-One Printer

The ESP 7 tries to leap ahead of the pack by claiming to have fast print speeds and good quality photo output. Unfortunately, it falls short in most of these areas, but it is relatively cheap to run.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
4 min read

Design and features

Somehow skipping the even numbers in the logical iteration of things, the ESP 7 is the follow-up to Kodak's previous multifunction device (MFD), the ESP 5.

7.2

Kodak ESP 7 All-In-One Printer

The Good

Cheap running cost (but expensive to buy initially). Wireless and Ethernet connectivity.

The Bad

Colour casting on photo prints. Slow text prints. Visible print droplets.

The Bottom Line

The ESP 7 tries to leap ahead of the pack by claiming to have fast print speeds and good quality photo output. Unfortunately, it falls short in most of these areas, but it is relatively cheap to run.

In regards to style, it shares a lot in common with the other black behemoths on the MFD market right now, like Epson's Stylus Photo TX700W. This is where the similarities end though, as Kodak can't lay claim that the ESP 7 was designed by one of the top design firms in Milan.

Not that there's anything wrong with the appearance of the printer per se — it just feels a little cheaper made than its Italian cousin. It certainly has a lot less buttons, which is good for simplicity value, but does make you feel like there is some functionality missing. There's no numerical pad for starters, which gives the game away that it has no fax, and the scanner that lies flat at the top of the unit doesn't have an automatic document feeder or anything else fancy. There is a built-in duplexer though, and connectivity is well met with Wi-Fi and Ethernet support.

The 3-inch LCD screen is the hub of all activity on the ESP 7 — the menu system is also intuitive enough to make the printer just as useful as a stand-alone unit. At the bottom right on the front fascia sit the standard PictBridge connections and the two paper trays underneath the printer (which slide out easily). The lowest one takes up to A4-sized paper and the upper one can take a myriad of smaller sizes, including standard 10x15cm photo paper, which automatically detects the size you've inserted.

Unlike many other photo-capable MFDs, the ESP 7 uses only two ink cartridges, one for black and a combined five-ink colour tank. This is great for economy but not so good for accurate colour reproduction, as we see later on in this review.

With the r-word winding its way ever further into everyday conversation it was only a matter of time before printing companies began touting the economic viability of their latest offerings. The ESP 7 is no exception, with Kodak claiming that users can print up to twice as many prints on the unit compared to other inkjets on the market.

Certainly on initial inspection this claim seems to be true, with the cost of consumables being quite cheap. The black cartridge retails for AU$14.99 and the combined colour for AU$24.99. This is considerably less expensive than other MFDs that use separate ink tanks, often hitting the AU$20 mark for each individual colour.

Performance and print quality

The software installation process is a somewhat lengthy one, taking at least 10 minutes to initialise and install either off the CD or via web updates. Once complete you'll be presented with the Kodak printing interface, which is incredibly basic (great for home users and those who want to be taken hand-in-hand through every step of the printing process). You can access common tasks like scanning and printing photos from this interface.

When you get underway the first thing you'll notice about the printing process is that it's quite noisy to begin with, though it does dissipate once the printing begins. As for plain text documents, the ESP 7 manages to deliver some good results, with clear lettering and no banding or smudging across our test pages. That said, it takes a good 46 seconds for the first page to emerge, and on draft mode we calculated that the printer will only manage to push out a maximum of four or five pages per minute at an average time of 13 seconds per page. It's a far cry from the 32 pages that Kodak claims, and this is draft mode not normal mode.

As for colour printouts, at first they appear to be of good quality when inspecting them from a distance, but on close viewing there's clear and visible banding on many shots involving single colours in blocks, and coloured flecks elsewhere throughout light coloured areas. Print droplets are also quite prominent, coarse rather than fine like we've seen on a number of other multifunction devices lately. The ESP 7 isn't the speediest printer for standard 10x15cm prints, taking around 58 seconds for a photo to print.

Another issue we found with photo printouts was a degree of colour casting, with a decidedly unbalanced tendency to favour magenta hues across a whole spectrum of prints. You won't necessarily notice it by inspecting prints on their own, but put them side by side with anything that has been produced from a lab or a class-leading MFD and you'll see that it's quite an issue.

Service and support

Kodak has a range of online support options, from FAQs to setting up your printer and software to firmware downloads, as well as a 1800 freecall number for additional help.