Kodak is determined to make as much as it can from the inkjet engine it introduced in its original all-in-one machines a couple of years ago. Its latest incarnations of this efficient device are the ESP 7 and ESP 9 machines, and here we're looking at the top of the range ESP 9. Intended as a SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) machine, it sports a couple of interesting design improvements over the earlier printers.
From its 50-sheet Auto Document Feeder (ADF), to its twin, plain and photo paper trays, the device is all decked out in black. Its front panel is high-gloss and the rest are frosted. A yellow keyline above the control panel and the Kodak logo are all that identify the machine. It's most obvious innovation is a touch control panel which swings out from the front. All controls are outlined in bright blue and comprise a menu diamond, zoom controls, start and stop buttons and a number pad for fax dialling.
There's a 76mm OLED display, which is bright and clear, though the font chosen for displayed text is a bit scrappy, with irregular stroke widths and varied character spacing. The controls are very easy to use, though it's a little disconcerting that the display screen itself doesn't have a touch overlay.
You get plenty of options when it comes to connecting the ESP9 to your PC. There are USB and Ethernet sockets at the back, but it also has Wi-Fi. When you select for a Wi-Fi connection, the machine searches for likely wireless networks and, once you've selected one, asks you for your network's encryption key, though in a fit of nerd-speak, it calls this a ‘Security String'.
Software installation is similarly straightforward, though we chose to check for updated software of the Web and had to wait for a 275MB file to be downloaded - irritating if you're not on fast broadband.
Supplied software includes a front-end to handle scanning and copying, as well as uploading photos from the machine's twin memory card readers or the PictBridge socket, which doubles as a walk-up, USB print connection.