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 user 2009-06-23 at 11:58:16 am Views: 86
  • #21907

    Gadgets: In a competition for your money, it’s Kodak vs. HP printers
    It’s no secret that the revenue generating portion of home printers is the ink. It’s not uncommon to spend more on replacement ink than the original cost of the printer.To meet the demands of consumers not wanting to spend an endless amount of money on ink, Kodak came out with a series of printers with cartridges considerably cheaper than most competitors. Recently, Kodak started an ad campaign attacking its competitors and the cost of their ink.Some highlights of the advertising campaign (to view, go to YouTube.com) include these statements:

    - Drip by drip, your wallet is being drained every time you hit print on your inkjet printer.

    - Last year America paid the big printer companies $5 billion too much for ink.

    - For what you pay to replace your inkjet printer ink this year, you could buy a brand new printer. Switch to Kodak and stop overpaying for ink.

    Hewlett Packard contacted me about this ad campaign and offered to send me both a Kodak printer and comparable HP unit. Also offered was a good amount of ink and paper. HP purchased all the supplies through a third party vendor who shipped everything directly to me.
    There are a lot of technical reasons why one printer can be better than another but instead of getting into all of that, I decided to put the printers on a side-by-side test.The jury I selected was my wife’s local high school (Summit High School – Mansfield, Texas school district) photojournalism class, which prints non-stop and probably uses a good portion of its annual budget for ink.

    The printers were the Kodak ESP 7 and the HP Photosmart C6380 AiO. Current prices for each at BestBuy.com are $199. Both have internal media card readers for direct printing, so there was no need to connect either to a computer.

    Replacement ink for the Kodak cost $9.99 for the black, $14.99 for a muli-color cartridge or $22.99 for the combo pack of both color and back cartridges. The HP ink is $9.99 for each individual color (cyan, magenta and yellow) or $29.99 for a color combo pack and $9.99 for the black.The ink for both of these printers is cheaper because, unlike many other printers, the print head is built into the printer itself, instead of into the ink cartridge. This results in not having to pay for a print head each time you buy an ink cartridge.

    Highlights of both printers include borderless printing up to 8.5- by 11-inches, printing with internal memory card slots, USB 2.0 connections to a computer or wireless. Both units also copy and scan photos and documents have LCD displays built-in the front of the devices.Kodak specifications state users can print up to 2400 by 9600 dpi resolution, while HP says users can print up to 600 by 600 dpi resolution in black; up to 9600 by 2400 optimized dpi in color.The actual cost per print is something that can and does vary from user to user. It’s very difficult to give an actual cost per print since different sizes use different color combinations.

    Each student was asked to log their name, date, size and time it took to print each photo for each printer. When they completed all their printing, each student also had to fill out a simple survey, with questions about which printer had better results in quality, speed and what they liked and didn’t like about each printer.

    Of the 16 surveys turned in, 13 felt the HP printed the best quality photos. For speed, nine said the HP printed faster and when asked which printer they liked the best overall, 10 choose the HP.Alexis Escobedo said, “The Kodak printer, in just a short time, had a dirty head and left lines, while the HP stayed true to the image and had constant good quality.” She added that she “liked the colors in the first few prints and the ease of selecting a photo.”

    Another student, Monika Hoang, preferred the HP and pointed out she prefers “quality over speed.”I couldn’t agree more with that reasoning. Unless it’s drastic (minutes, etc.) I would never choose one printer over another based on the speed.When your print is hanging on a wall and it’s poor quality, are you going to tell everyone, “The print isn’t good, but it only took 10 seconds to print?”Hoang did add that while preferring the HP, “I thought the Kodak was easier to use.”Victoria Hensley preferred the Kodak but also agreed with the preference of quality over speed. She put on her survey, “I’d buy the Kodak because of the quality of the prints. The quality of the print is what counts, not the speed.” Hensley thought the colors of the Kodak were better along with being easier to use.The bottom line shows the students preferred the HP to the Kodak, but what did it cost? As mentioned, the cost per print is a difficult thing to calculate from user to user.What’s more important, cost, speed or quality? For this group of young aspiring photojournalists, they chose quality. Do you choose print speed, cost or quality? That’s your decision, but obviously there are options.