Kodak claims fairly modest speeds for the ESP C310, identical to those for the ESP C110 at 6ppm for black and 4ppm for colour. Under test, even these proved optimistic, as we saw 3.5ppm on our 5-page black text document, increasing to only 3.8ppm on the longer, 20-page one.
The only way we could get speeds approaching Kodak’s claims, in fact exceeding them, was in draft mode, where the printer managed 8.6ppm. The five-page black text and colour graphics test returned 3.3ppm, closer to spec than normal text, but still slow in comparison to similarly-priced competitors.
A single-page colour copy took a reasonable 29s and 15 x 10cm photo prints took 43s at normal quality and 55s at best quality. These are both good speeds for a printer in this class.
The quality of the prints is generally well above average. Black text is sharp and shows very few signs of spatter or print misalignment. It's certainly well up to general use in a home or home office environment. Draft mode text remains well-formed and given the increased speed can be freely used to save ink and time.
Colour graphics also reproduce well, with good, bold primaries and minimal patchiness in areas of solid colour. There was some slight haloing of black text over colour, but a colour copy came through very well, with colours closer than normal to the original. This is a function of the scanner and scanning software as much as the print engine and the quality of scans from the 1200ppi scanner is good throughout.
Photo reproduction supports Kodak's claim that it no longer needs two blacks and an overcoat layer to get quality images. Our test photos showed good colour, plenty of detail in the foreground, though some loss in darker, shadowed areas.
The costs of the Kodak 30 cartridges continue to fluctuate and the cheapest prices we could find were a little higher than when we reviewed the ESP C110. Even so, with calculated page costs of 1.9p for ISO black and 4.6p for ISO colour, they are still among the lowest of any inkjet on the market.
As with the other members of Kodak's new inkjet range we've reviewed, the strengths of the ESP C310 lie in two of the three most important product areas. This printer produces good quality prints on plain and photo paper and it costs very little to produce them, compared with many rivals. If the company could just get the speed up, it would be three out of three.