Kodak's Office Hero 6.1 is a colour all-in-one inkjet printer aimed at those who work from home. Priced at around £170, it includes a number of useful features, such as automatic two-sided printing, built-in Wi-Fi, and support for cloud printing.
Like the other models in the new Hero range, this one has a pretty striking design. Its chassis is predominantly finished in matte black plastic, but glossy highlighting is used on the control panel, and an eye-catching red stripe runs across the handle on the lid of the scanner. It's definitely one of the better-looking printers we've come across recently.
The front panel has a 2.4-inch colour screen, which is a big help when you're trying to select pictures to print either via memory keys plugged into the front-mounted USB port, or the memory-card reader that's located next to it. The control panel also includes dedicated buttons for the copy, fax, scan and photo-printing features, as well as a full numeric keypad for dialling fax numbers.
This printer lacks the touchscreen controls of the Hero 7.1, but the traditional direction pad makes it quick and easy to navigate around the clean and simple menus.
Paper is stored in a 200-sheet feeder at the bottom of the chassis, and the printed results are fed into a telescopic tray that sits just above. There isn't a separate photo-paper tray, so, unfortunately, you have to remove your A4 sheets when you want to print glossy snaps.
Setting up the printer is very straightforward. All you have to do is open up the belly of the machine, insert the black and colour cartridges, place the installation disc in your PC, and then follow the on-screen instructions. There's also a Wi-Fi set-up wizard that you can view on the printer's own screen. This lets you set up Wi-Fi printing without the need for a PC.
The Office Hero 6.1 also supports cloud printing, which basically means that you can send print jobs to it from any Internet-connected device, including laptops and smart phones, from anywhere you like. Kodak supports two cloud-printing options -- its own service and that of Google.
Scanning and copying
The 6.1's flatbed scanner has an optical resolution of 2,400dpi and includes an automatic document feeder. This lets you scan or copy multi-page documents of up to 35 pages in length, and will be a great time-saver for many home office users, especially as it automatically handles double-sided documents.
The scanning quality is very good too. The scanner manages to retain plenty of detail from the original document and colour reproduction is accurate. It's also relatively fast when it comes to copying photos, taking 22 seconds to produce a black and white copy of our single-page test document.
Print speed, quality and cost
Like the other models in the Hero range, the 6.1 is more of a stroller than a sprinter. It took 2 minutes and 51 seconds to produce our ten-page black and white text document, which is almost twice as long as the HP Officejet 7500A.
It also took 3 minutes and 34 seconds to print our ten-page colour business presentation. Similarly, ten pages of our colour graphics test took 3 minutes and 51 seconds to emerge. On the plus side, this printer is much faster when it comes to producing photos. A 4- by 6-inch photo took 46 seconds to print, which is about the norm for this type of machine.
Print results are impressive overall. The colours in our graphics and presentation tests looked deep and vibrant, while text was crisply formed, with neatly defined edges. Colour photos also looked detailed and vibrant, with vivid colours and plenty of detail in darker areas of the image.
Kodak's marketing slogan for its printers is 'beautifully cheap printing'. The 'cheap' part is certainly borne out by this model's running costs. Using the large-capacity black cartridge, a black and white page works out at 2.25p per sheet, including 0.7p for paper costs. Using a standard colour cartridge -- there's no high-capacity option, unfortunately -- colour printing works out at 3.8p per page, again including 0.7p paper costs.
Note that the printer uses a single, combined colour cartridge, so, if one colour runs out, you'll have to replace the whole thing.
The Kodak Office Hero 6.1 is a fine all-in-one printer that will do many home offices proud. It produces good-quality output and it's cheap to run, while also offering useful features. It's just a shame it isn't faster.
Edited by Charles Kloet