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KODAK ESP Office 2170 All-in-One: Affordable, but Minimal

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder ESP Office 2170 All-in-One Printer

    PCWorld Rating

    This inexpensive model offers bare-bones capabilities and speed for home offices, and its low ink costs are offset by disappointing plain-paper print quality.

Kodak's ESP Office 2170 color inkjet multifunction printer (print, scan, copy, fax) aims at the home-office market, highlighting its affordable ink and its very economical purchase price ($150 as of 09/16/2011). Unfortunately no perfect multifunction exists at this price point; the ESP Office 2170’s particular weaknesses are minimal features, slow performance, and mediocre output quality on plain paper.

To Kodak’s credit, the ESP Office 2170 is very easy to use. Installation via Wi-Fi or USB is straightforward, and the control panel’s labeled buttons are refreshing in their one-to-one functionality. The unit also features a readable, if small, 1.5-inch LCD screen. The software handles all multifunction chores ably.

Paper-handling features on the ESP Office 2170 are minimal. The only input is the vertical 150-sheet feed at the back of the unit, and duplex printing is manual only. The output tray pulls out the front of the unit and holds approximately 50 sheets. The flatbed scanner under the automatic document feeder (ADF) handles up to A4-size paper, but it does not telescope to accommodate thicker material. Duplex scanning via the 25-sheet ADF is not available, and we noticed on two different units that paper skewed slightly as it entered the ADF, making us wonder about the quality of the feed mechanism.

Performance is passable. The ESP Office 2170 printed simple text pages on plain paper at 4.7 pages per minute (ppm) on the PC and 3.7 ppm on the Mac—speeds well below the average for each platform. Other speeds were right at the average for the category: 2 ppm printing color snapshots on the PC and 0.6 ppm printing a full-size color photo on the Mac; and 1.4 ppm printing a PDF document with a mix of text and color graphics on the Mac. Not surprisingly, photo quality on Kodak’s own glossy paper is superb: bright, crisp, and realistic. On the plain paper that most people use for most printing, however, text is dark gray rather than black and slightly soft; and images are dull-colored and grainy.

Kodak's ink costs are very low. The standard-size cartridges include a $10, 335-page black cartridge and an $18, 275-page tricolor cartridge, amounting to about 3 cents per page for black and 6.5 cents for color. That makes the cost of your average four-color page a mere 9.5 cents. The high-capacity cartridges offer more yield but little savings: Black costs $20 and lasts 670 pages (3 cents per page), while color costs $34 and lasts 550 pages (6.2 cents per page). Other models in this price range, such as the Canon Pixma MX420, tend to have higher ink costs.

The best way to look at the Kodak ESP Office 2170 is as a photo printer that also handles basic office chores in low volumes. If nothing else, its inexpensive inks make it far cheaper to operate than most others in its class. If you're looking for a true office workhorse, however, it would be worthwhile to spend a little more money up front for a better all-around model like the Epson WorkForce 635.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This inexpensive model offers bare-bones capabilities and speed for home offices, and its low ink costs are offset by disappointing plain-paper print quality.

    Pros

    • Easy-to-use control panel and software
    • Excellent photo output

    Cons

    • Cannot print or scan in duplex
    • Plain-paper print quality is mediocre
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