The Kodak ESP Office 2170 all-in-one inkjet printer offers a stellar line-up of features and produces good-quality prints, whether text or images. Its running costs are low too, but its slow printing speed is rather disappointing.
The Kodak ESP Office 2170 is an all-in-one printer designed for use in a home office. As well as letting you print photos and the like, it offers more business-like features, such as an automatic document feeder that allows you to photocopy several pages without having to manually feed each sheet into the scanner. The 2170 is available for around £125.
The 2170 has the usual boxy, angular look of a multi-function printer. Although its matte black, plastic chassis looks rather cheap, we reckon it's likely to stand up well to long-term use. A small stripe of Kodak's corporate yellow on the scanner lid brightens up the device's appearance.
On the front, there's a small, 1.5-inch colour screen. The screen is fine for tasks like setting up the number of photocopies to be made, but it seems very small when you're working with pictures.
Next to the screen there's a pretty busy control panel that has dedicated buttons for copying, scanning, faxing and printing photos. There's also a numerical keypad so you can enter fax numbers. Below this panel, on the left-hand side, there's both a multi-format card reader for printing photos and a USB PictBridge port so you can connect your camera directly to the printer.
On top of the scanner, the 2170 has an automatic document feeder that can accept up to 25 sheets. This allows you to sit a multi-page document in the feeder and have the individual sheets automatically copied or faxed one at a time -- that will prove handy for those who want to use the printer in a home office.
When printing, paper is fed in via a tray on the rear that holds up to 150 sheets. The output is spewed into a telescopic tray at the front.
Setting up the printer is very easy. You can either rely on the on-screen set-up wizard or use the one on the supplied software installation CD. The printer can be connected via USB or Wi-Fi. If you're using Wi-Fi, you don't need to connect the printer to your computer at all.
The 2170's scanner has an optical resolution of 1,200dpi. It's speedy, and the quality of its scans is impressive. When scanning photos, it does a good job of retaining sharpness on edges and also manages to capture subtle differences in colour hues at the darker end of the spectrum.
The copying speed is fast too, with the 2170 managing to copy our A4 black and white test sheet in just 20 seconds.
This model uses the same print engine as the ESP C310. It relies on two cartridges -- one for black ink, and one for cyan, magenta and yellow. These slot into a print head that in turn slots into the main printing mechanism housed beneath the scanner.
This model clearly beats most of the competition when it comes to running costs. As with the C310, cartridge prices are very reasonable. A black and white A4 sheet costs around 1.9p to print, while a colour A4 sheet works out at about 4.8p. Both prices are cheap by inkjet standards.
As with the C310, the 2170 is a disappointingly slow performer when it comes to printing. In fact, the performance of both models is almost identical. Printing our ten-page black and white text document took 2 minutes and 4 seconds, while the 2170 chugged away at our ten-page business presentation in colour for 3 minutes and 25 seconds. It was similarly slow when printing ten copies of our colour graphics, taking 3 minutes and 36 seconds.
The 2170 is much speedier when tasked with photo printing, though -- a 6- by 4-inch print took just 45 seconds. Kodak has evidently put its photo-processing experience to good use here.
Black and white text generally looks pretty good, although some ink splatter can be seen here and there -- the output isn't as clean as that of the best inkjet models and it's some way off laser-quality. Graphics output is also of a high standard, although some banding can be seen in larger blocks of colour.
What's perhaps surprising, given the fact that it uses a three-colour cartridge, is the quality of the 2170's photo prints. Colours are rich and it produces good results in trickier, high-contrast areas of images.
The Kodak ESP Office 2170 is far from the fastest multi-function printer on the block, but it impresses with its good print quality and sterling line-up of features. Still, its low running costs will probably be the biggest attraction for those who need to do a fair amount of printing in their home office.
Edited by Charles Kloet