Kodak ESP C310 inkjet printer hands on

Are you a mum in a photo active family? Are you mid-income with high aspirations for your children whom you wish to be successful and creative? If that’s sounds like you, then you should be buying a Kodak ESP C-series inkjet printer and, according to the company marketing meetings, you’re also called Fiona.

The Kodak ESP C310 and ESP C110 are both all-in-ones, minus a fax offering, with the only difference between them that the former supports Wi-Fi whereas the latter doesn’t. All the same, they’ll each allow you to print, copy and scan to your heart’s content.

The inkjets, launched at CES 2011, are spearheading Kodak’s second big push on its undercutting of the competition on ink prices over the last 2 years, as it hopes to keep increasing its market share with the headline message that Kodak inkjets are the cheapest way to go.

Consequently, what we got when Pocket-lint had a hands on with the pair was something pretty simple. They’re standard L-shape printers with the paper going in the back end and coming out of the front so as not to confuse anyone with what goes where. They’re a fairly unassuming matte charcoal finish with the only bit of colour the Kodak gold circle around the all important print button on the right.

Again, the controls are minimal with the only extras on show being the memory card slot from which you can sadly only print photos, but not docs of any kind. While that’s not a major issue, the one area that probably is, is the teeny tiny 1.5-inch LCD preview screen. It’s around the size of a digital watch face. According to director and vice president of consumer inkjet Bob Ohlweiler, it’s an area the company is looking to develop but, for now, we may as well appreciate it as a cost saving measure.

Fortunately, the rest of the devices are sound with a pretty sturdy build quality going on. They’re still the kind of thing that’s going to take up proportionally more desk space than you’d want, so we’d highly recommended going for the wireless C310 option which you can stash in the cupboard instead.

At present you can print directly from an iPhone or iPad via the Pic Flic app or one of the Kodak Pulse connected photo frames, but that’s as high tech as you can get until the company has got its home printing economics message across to the consumer. In reference to printers that you can email and other advances more fitting of the inkjet zeitgiest, Ohlweiler commented:

“We recognise that that’s a direction one of our competitors has chosen to go with but for us, cloud printing is something for the future. It’s obviously a huge trend. Today people aren’t doing it a lot but we think it's going to move to the predominant amount of content printed rather than off the PC. That’s a huge focus area for us.”

For now, the only interesting features, other than taking care of the job in hand, are that you can print out paper with lines for lists or graph paper to help your kids get the materials they need for their maths homework.

Both C-Series models are available for pre-order now for £69 and £89 and, while not the cheapest up front, they have an estimated running cost of £68 per year based on printing four sheets per day. According to Kodak, that's more than £75 less than the competition.

Take a look at our interview with Kodak for a full idea of the company's inkjet strategy.