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The printer offers two quick-fix buttons, for red-eye and something Agfa (and Sagem before it) calls Crystal Image. Crystal Image increases the sharpness of a picture slightly and compensates for exposure and contrast problems, though in the images we tested with, it didn’t seem to make a lot of difference. You also wonder, if the effects of Crystal Image are all to the good, why not have it on by default? Red-eye removal is automatic, once it’s been switched on. There’s no need to zero in on the eyes you want to re-colour.
The last Sagem printer we looked at – the PrintEasy 110 – scored 10/10 for image quality, a rare accolade. Although this machine uses the same print engine, the prints this time weren’t quite as good. There’s not quite as much life in them and although the detail is still good, there’s a cooler, blueness which is less natural.
Agfa claims a print per minute from the AP2700 and we produced one in 61 seconds, when printing directly from a camera, so we wouldn’t dispute that. It’s a bit slower when printing from a PC, though, at around 1:12.
Like its predecessor, this is a fairly noisy printer, particularly when it’s feeding the paper through before printing. Since each print makes four passes for yellow, magenta, cyan and a clear, protective coating, it’s feeding the print through quite a bit. We measured the printer at peaks of just over 60dBA, so quite a bit noisier than a typical inkjet.
A 150-print pack, comprising print blanks and two 75-print ribbons, costs a penny under £40, giving a cost per print of 27p. This is quite a bit more than from the PrintEasy, where the pack was £10 less. The print cost isn’t good, given that the main inkjet machines are printing at under 20p per print and Kodak is threatening to reduce inkjet prints to under 10p.
It’s not often that a new model in an existing range isn’t up to its predecessor, but here Agfa’s AP2700 is more expensive to run and doesn’t give quite the print quality. While it offers useful extras, like its LCD display and TV output, you have to ask if the extra cost, nearly double, makes it worth it.