Printing 15 x 10cm photos was a lot nearer the norm, with times ranging from 43 seconds to one minute and eight seconds, depending on source. The quality of these prints was pretty good, crisp and smooth with a good level of detail and well-balanced colours. Black text on plain paper was also clean and with little feathering or other fuzz-making attributes. Colour on plain paper suffered from the same lack of saturation as from the EasyShare 5300, though, and white fibres were obvious in areas of solid colour. Colour copies were closer to the originals than from some competitors.
Some of Kodak’s rivals have claimed the company can offer its headline 7p per print consumable cost by charging more for the All-in-One itself. A quick look round similar machines, though, such as the HP Photosmart C6180 all the Canon PIXMA MP530, shows that most of them sell at around £200, within a midge’s beard-hair of the EasyShare 5500.
To reach a cost of 7p per 15 x 10cm print you have to use Kodak’s Photo Value Pack – not the Premium Photo Value Pack, mind – which costs £12.49 for 180 sheets of standard photo paper, and a colour cartridge. Do the maths and this, indeed, comes out at 7p per print.
Kodak claims its black cartridge can produce 349, ISO black pages, and under test we produced 334, which is within five per cent. From this, we calculate an ISO black text page to cost 2.82p, which isn’t that low when compared with other All-in-Ones at similar price points.
For ISO colour pages, we calculate a cost of 28.7p, including an A4 sheet of Kodak’s Premium Glossy Paper, which is pretty good. You can reduce the cost still further if you can live with standard photo paper, which Kodak prices lower.
This machine, at twice the price of the EasyShare 5300, is not as impressive as the cheaper model. While the ADF and duplexer are useful additions for office use, the scanner takes a while to warm up and the duplexer takes a while to turn the paper over and prevents the printing of headers close to the top of a page. Printing is slow, too and although the quality is quite good overall, it’s only the promise of low-cost photo prints which should swing you in its favour.