Kodak has been making multi-function devices for a few years now and though its entry into the market was met with some fanfare they've yet to set the industry alight. The latest model from them is aimed more at the small to medium office.
The ESP Office 6150 is a well specified device with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections as standard. As well as the normal print, copy and scan functionality the Kodak has a fax built-in that can store 100 sheets in memory and has a 10 number speed dial. The main paper tray holds 200 sheets of A4 and can print on both sides thanks to the built-in duplexer. In addition the scanning unit has an automatic document feeder for batch scanning, copying or faxing.
There's no card reader, though you can download an app for both iPhone and BlackBerry to print direct from mobiles. There's a decent 2.4-inch LCD screen to manage settings and help use the printer. The scanner has a 1200dpi optical resolution and can scan multiple sources at once. For example, if you put four items on the scanning bed it can intelligently crop and scan them to separate files.
Cheap ink is one of the attractions of the Kodak system. The ESP 6150 uses an all-in-one ink tank system with one for colour and one for black ink. The colour ink is available for around £11.99 where the black tank is £7.99. Kodak claims that you can save about £50 year using its inks over a similar ink jet from a competitor.
Build quality is decent if not inspiring, the lid slams shut if you don't open it all the way up, for example. Otherwise the black and yellow colour scheme is inoffensive and the buttons all respond well. The menus are simple to get through and options clearly identifiable.
Speed wise the Kodak is quite nippy. A 6 x 4-inch photo in standard mode took just 39 seconds to arrive. A page of draft text was ready and waiting in just 9 seconds and a 10 page document with a mixture of colour graphics and text was printed in a shade under 4 minutes.
Output wasn't nearly as impressive however with some lacklustre text and average image quality. Text wasn't nearly as crisp as we'd have liked and there was plenty of spare ink left around the characters. In draft mode the problem was worse with jagged text and a lack of sharpness. Photographs were ok, but lacked the colour and vibrancy we've seen from other manufacturers. Balance was good as was detail, but overall images from the ESP 6150 just lacked that bit of life. Similarly, the mixed text and graphics document suffered from a lack of punch to the colour and average text quality.
If you're in the market for a cheap to run all-in-one the Kodak certainly looks good in terms of ink tanks cost, but if you're looking for a bit of quality too then there are alternatives that produce better output. The ink tanks are good value and in terms of specification and usability the Kodak scores well, but the text and photo output just isn't as good as the competition.