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The duplexer, for printing on both sides of the paper, is supplied as a separate accessory and needs to be clipped in at the back of the device, in place of the standard back panel. Also at the back are sockets for a phone line and a handset and for the single USB connection to a PC. There's no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth as standard.
The same EasyShare and AiO Home Center software is supplied with this machine as with the cheaper model and offers the same, simple scanning and editing of images. It'll scan a document to RTF as text, as well, but there's little adjustment available – in fact there's hardly any mention of the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine the file must go through. It either works or it doesn't., though the samples we tried worked pretty well.
We found a few oddities while testing the 5500. Our five-page black print test document printed fine, but the 20-side, duplex one, which uses exactly the same pages reproduced four times, lost the tops of the page headers. This implies there's a greater non-printable area when printing double-sided than when printing single-sided, a fact not mentioned in the 5500's documentation.
Secondly, the main A4 paper feed tray, which is claimed to take 100 sheets of 80gsm paper, wouldn't take more than 90 sheets of ours. This is the same multi-purpose office paper we use for all printer tests.
Finally, one of the 15 x 10cm print blanks of Kodak Ultra Premium Photo paper (supplied in the box) delaminated when we printed on it. The top surface came away along one complete edge. This is probably an isolated incident, but together with the power supply chirrup, leaves a question mark over quality assurance.
Print times for documents were unaccountably longer than for the EasyShare 5300, with the five-page text document taking one minute 12 seconds, a speed of 4.17ppm and the five-page text and colour graphics coming in at two minutes 40 seconds, or 1.88ppm. The actual speed when printing is not that bad, but the EasyShare 5500 takes up to 30 seconds before starting to print, with lots of clunks and chunters as it prepares itself.
Using the duplexer to print double-sided pages meant our 20-side document took a coffee-brewing six minutes 32 seconds, equating to 3.06spm. Copying an A4 colour page took around 40 seconds, but this increased to between 55 seconds and one minute 19 seconds if the scanner was not already warmed up. Not a snappy machine.