Kodak originally introduced the ESP ‘C’ series machines as entry-level devices and more recently launched the Hero range pitched above them. Now with the ESP 1.2 it has dropped the ‘C’ and refreshed the lower range, to take on more recent innovations, particularly the need to print from smartphones and tablets.
The neat, textured black box, with gloss highlights and Kodak-yellow stripes, looks simple yet functional and, despite the printer’s entry-level positioning, is surprisingly solid and robust. Its small (38mm) LCD display has been moved to the front of the machine, just to the right of the scanner cover, and has been moulded into a slightly raised binnacle, making it easier to read.
It now sports nine touch buttons in a frame around it. These controls are easy-to-use and responsive to the touch, though they're not that brightly illuminated when their functions are available.
Just over the front lip from the display are an illuminated power button, Wi-Fi indicator and MemoryStick and SD card slot, though there's no PictBridge or USB socket.
The front panel folds down to become the printer's output tray, with a two-stage, telescopic support sliding out of its front edge. A cover lying on top of the scanner folds up to become a rear feed tray, with a transparent ‘windscreen’ just in front. The tray can take 150 sheets of plain paper, but you have to remove any plain stock to load photo paper.
At the back is a single USB socket and one for low voltage input from the supplied, black-block power supply. Most people will use the printer’s wireless connection, though, as this provides access to Kodak's innovative software apps.
Kodak aims to add value to its machines by providing apps such as Pic Flick HD, which handles direct print of photos from mobile devices. It already supports Google Cloud print and, magnanimously, the company provides this extra support retrospectively to earlier machines in its range, via firmware upgrades.
The ESP 1.2 runs with the same 30 series cartridges as its predecessors and, although these cost slightly more than the 10 series cartridges in some of the Hero range, they’re still among the cheapest all-in-ones to run. Clip the black and tri-colour cartridges into place and you're ready to go.
Interestingly, there's no user guide on the driver CD and you're redirected to a page on the Kodak site. There were no details of the ESP 1.2 available when we tried, but we imagine this is a temporary difficulty.