As well as providing PictBridge compatibility, the USB port on the left enables you to print from a USB memory key, provided you have a Kodak camera docked, enabling you to preview the pictures on the screen. Alternatively, you can use it to copy pictures from the camera to the USB key, in order to free up some space – potentially very handy if you’ve no PC to hand.
On the right hand side is the photo paper kit – you simply pop the one piece cartridge into the slot, close the door and you’re ready to go. It reminded me of loading film on an APS camera – fairly idiot proof.
At the front is the paper tray. By design the dock only handles 6 x 4in paper, so if that’s too small for you, you’ve been reading this review for too long anyway. This tray can hold up to 30 sheets in one go.
Printing via a PC proved to be very easy, via the supplied Kodak EasyShare software. I must admit I was briefly flummoxed how to stop the software printing to my existing printer by default – I was selecting ‘Quick Print’ and failed to noticed the, actually quite glaringly obvious ‘Print at Home’, option on the left hand side, which enables you to select the Printer of your choice. It makes sense to use the EasyShare software as it is optimised for the dock, enabling you to make best use of the paper size, printing without borders and putting multiple images onto one print if so desired.
The EasyShare software is pretty slick for free bundled software and integrates well with Kodak’s Gallery, from where you can order more advanced items such as Photobooks, T-Shirts and the like. The software has built in image enhancement options for a quick one-click fix, but I found that Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 5 did a better job at enhancing colours.
The big advantage of this sort of dock is that, as advertised on the paper tray, prints are ‘Worry-free’- namely, waterproof, fingerprint proof and stain resistant. In other words, they’re more real-world friendly than the average ink-jet printer. In terms of quality, there’s nothing complain about. Colours are natural and images are free of visible dot structure, grain, banding or any of the other potential downfalls of conventional inkjets.