Kodak's ESP C310 inkjet printer lets you print, copy and scan, all in one fairly compact package. It also includes Wi-Fi connectivity and offers among the cheapest running costs of any inkjet printer on the market. It's available now for around £75.
As with most printers, the C310 is finished in black, but Kodak has opted for a matte, rather than glossy, finish, so fingerprints don't show up on the surface. Kodak has also added some flashes of its corporate yellow on the scanner lid and the ring around the start button.
Measuring 419 by 173 by 312mm, the C310 is relatively small for a device of its kind, although folding out the front and rear document trays does increase its footprint somewhat. The rear tray holds up to 100 sheets of paper.
The top of the printer is home to a small colour screen, a four-way direction pad and various other buttons that allow you to control features such as photocopying and printing photos. A multi-format card reader on the front of the C310 makes it easy to feed your photos to the printer. The menu system is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate.
The C310 can be connected to your computer either via the USB port on the rear or over Wi-Fi. Setting up the Wi-Fi connection is pretty simple -- you can search for and join networks using the controls on the front panel.
No speed demon
The flatbed scanner on the top of the C310 has an optical resolution of 1,200dpi. Scans look reasonably good, with accurate colours and sharp detail captured in photos. Similar tones at the darker end of the colour spectrum tend to get mingled together, rather than remaining distinct, but this is an issue that affects many scanners on all-in-one devices.
As a photocopier, the C310 is fairly speedy. It managed to copy our ten-page black and white test document in 32 seconds.
The C310 is less speedy when it comes to normal printing, however. Our ten-page black and white A4 document took 2 minutes and 55 seconds to print. Colour printing is even slower, with our ten-page presentation taking 3 minutes and 26 seconds to emerge. Ten copies of our colour graphics document were completed in an equally languid 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
Kodak's experience in photo reproduction seems to serve the C310 well, however, as it's much faster at printing photos than it is at printing other kinds of material. It managed to spit out a 4- by 6-inch print in just 45 seconds.
The print quality of text isn't the absolute best we've seen, but it's perfectly acceptable, with not too much bleeding in evidence. Colour graphics also look quite bold, and photo reproduction is good by the standards of a four-ink printer. The photo output is let down slightly by the fact that the C310 seems incapable of producing borderless prints -- or at least we couldn't find any option for this in the driver software.
Kodak has come relatively late to the inkjet party, but it's been making a name for itself thanks to its slightly different approach to pricing. Rather than offering cheap hardware and then stinging customers with high ink-cartridge costs, its printers are slightly more expensive in the first place, but its cartridges are cheaper. The C310 is no different in this regard.
The C310 uses two ink cartridges -- one for black and one for cyan, magenta and yellow. At current cartridge prices, printing a black A4 document works out at around 1.9p per page, while printing a colour A4 sheet costs around 4.8p. That makes the C310 one of the cheapest inkjet printers to run -- something that will be appreciated by those who have relatively heavy printing needs.
The Kodak ESP C310 is undeniably rather slow, but it goes a long way towards making up for this by offering among the lowest running costs we've come across for an inkjet printer. If you intend to make heavy use of your printer, the C310 is worth serious consideration.
Edited by Charles Kloet