Kodak ESP 9 All-in-One Printer
The Kodak ESP 9 All-In-One Printer, despite some initial connectivity problems, is proving to be one of my all-time favorite output devices. Like other models in the Kodak ESP family, the ESP 9 promises very inexpensive printing on a per-page basis, as little as 2.3 cents each.
For home-office use, given the ease-of-use, built-in scanning and faxing capabilities, high output quality, and network connectivity, plus an excellent and elegant (if somewhat futuristic) design, and low cost of consumables, the ESP 9 provides a lot of functionality in a fairly small package.
Additionally, it provides the ability to print directly from PictBridge cameras, memory cards, and USB keys (it has a 3” color LCD display for previewing),
There are some limitations. With a paper tray capacity of 100 sheets, the printer is suitable for relatively light-duty use. On the plus side, it does have a separate tray for photo paper up to 5×7” and a built-in duplex capability for double-sided printing.
Setting it up on my home-office Wi-Fi network was simple. The printer found my Wi-Fi network (the printer also supports Ethernet and USB connections) and all I had to do was input the network security code. Installing the printer software on my Windows XP laptops was also simple. In addition to XP SP2 or higher, the printer supports Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Mac OS 10.4.8 and higher.
In testing, I found that the printer frequently could not find the Wi-Fi network. A replacement printer (Kodak’s technical support was above average in handling this and I did not identify myself as a reviewer) occasionally could not find the network but, otherwise, it has proven itself reliable over the six-month test period. Unfortunately, the ESP 9 is very noisy when in use; I soon learnt not to print when making phone calls and eventually moved the printer away from my desk.
Kodak promises lab-quality photos (when using photo paper) and independent testing by Wilhelm Imaging Research (WIR) found that its output deserves a Display Permanence Rating and Album/Dark Storage Rating of greater than 120 years. Print quality was good for text, very good for images, but print speed was slow enough to be noticeable. These issues notwithstanding, the features, functionality, and good looks still make it worthy of consideration.
$224.99 at amazon.com
–David Goldes is a Contributing Editor at Executive Road Warrior and President and Senior Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.