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.