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 user 2009-06-12 at 11:46:00 am Views: 32
  • #22060
    Are Kodak’s printers really that cheap to run?
    recent TV adverts have pushed how cheap its inkjet printers are to run,
    so we decided to investigate if this is really the case with the
    company’s ESP 7 multifunction inkjet.

    While we found that the
    ESP 7 can be cheap to run, the prices quoted in recent TV and web
    adverts don’t tell the whole story. The printer uses a dedicated black
    ink cartridge for text printing, but a combined-colour cartridge for
    photo and colour document printing, which means that you’ll have to
    replace the whole thing as soon as any one colour runs out. This is
    unusual for a printer that costs over £150.

    The ESP 7′s colour
    cartridge comprises pigment-based cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink,
    along with a clear overcoat for photos. Quoted print costs [are] often
    [different] from what your home printer will actually cost you, since
    it depends on what you print. For example, if you went on holiday to a
    rain forest, your photos will probably be primarily green. With a
    combined cartridge, you’ll need to replace it when the yellow and cyan
    inks are used up (since these combine to form green), even if there’s
    plenty of magenta and black ink left. This is clearly a waste and makes
    the printer more expensive to run than printers with separate ink tanks
    for each colour; here, you’d only replace the cyan and yellow

    Kodak has calculated its figures by the book. It
    hired independent testing firm Quality Logic to use the
    industry-standard ISO/IEC 24711 methodology to test the printer’s page
    yield and costs. This standard provides a common point of comparison
    for the ink consumption of different printers. We confirmed Kodak’s
    pricing when we calculated page costs using Quality Logic’s page yield
    figures. Our calculations revealed a cost of 2p per black (text) page
    and 2.6p per three-colour page (photo or colour document).

    these together produces a remarkably low mixed-colour total of 4.6p.
    Don’t forget that, as ever, these figures don’t include the cost of the

    When we test printers in Shopper’s labs, we don’t use the
    ISO/IEC 24711 test, as it uses specially-created documents. These tests
    have 20 per cent ink coverage of a sheet of A4′s surface with an even
    volume of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks used. Our tests use real
    documents and photos, which we believe are more representative of what
    home users print, that don’t use ink evenly. We also test with a text
    document to see how much these pages cost.

    We were impressed
    with the cost of text printing. Using a standard Kodak Black Ink
    Cartridge (£6.99 inc VAT), we calculated print costs of 2p per page. In
    our colour tests, using a Kodak Color Ink Cartridge (£9.99 inc VAT) we
    managed to print 152 pages before the printer ran out of one colour and
    prompted us to change the cartridge. This gave us costs of 6.6p per
    page of colour and 8.6p per mixed-colour page.

    Our tests
    highlight how print costs can be significantly raised by combined
    cartridges that force you to replace every ink at once, regardless of
    the current level. While individual ink cartridges could lower print
    costs, it’s interesting to note that the ESP 7 still manages to have
    competitive print costs, when compared to other printers we’ve reviewed
    recently, despite being potentially wasteful with ink.

    there’s no standardised test for photo printing yet but Kodak quotes a
    photo yield of 173 6x4in prints per colour cartridge. This equates to
    an ink cost of 5.8p that, with Kodak Ultra Premium photo paper at 24p
    per sheet, gives a total photo cost of 29.8p. This is a little more
    expensive than most of the photo printers in our recent photo printer
    group test.

    Although we prefer individual colour cartridges, the
    ESP 7 is a good value printer, as Kodak has managed to keep its ink
    prices at the same level as last year, while other manufacturers have
    seen their ink prices increase. The ESP 7 is available now from QVC and
    you’ll soon be able to read our full review in Shopper 258, on sale
    Thursday June 19.