Print speed and quality tests
Unlike many of their peers, Kodak has not opted to post ISO print speeds, nor do they mention “laser quality” speeds. They only advertised print speeds are up to 32 pages per minute (ppm) in black and 30 ppm in color.
As I’ve said in previous reviews, I have yet to review an all-in-one inkjet printer that has actually printed over 30 ppm. The ESP 7250 isn’t the first, or the last, inkjet to fall far short of that lofty print speed. What is different is that many competitors have started printing actual print speeds under the ISO guidelines instead of inflating speeds based on their internal testing.
Anyways, when we tested the Kodak ESP 7250 by printing our typical 40-page black and white text document (that we use in every review) in the normal print mode, we got an average first page out of 35 seconds and print speeds up to 6 ppm. In the ESP 7250’s defense, printing a mixed document with both black and white text and color images didn’t really slow it down.
Printing in draft mode doubled the print speeds and halved the first page out time. In draft mode, the Kodak ESP 7250 printed our 40-page black and white text document at a rate of 14 ppm with a first page out in 13 seconds.
Both the normal and draft print speeds are in line with competitors; the Canon Pixma MP640, for instance, printed faster in standard print mode (9 ppm) but had slower draft mode print speeds (11 ppm). The issue I had was that Kodak claims the ESP 7250 can print 32 ppm. If that claim is true, I don’t know how to replicate it in my tests.
Quality wise, the ESP 7250 did a good job with text documents in normal print mode. I didn’t see any broken text and it was easy to read. It had a bold, crisp feel. The draft mode wasn’t bad, the text was still dark enough for easy reading but I did notice some broken text as well as crooked text. Still, the draft mode was good enough for rough drafts, travel documents, to-do lists, etc.
When it came to photo printing, again, the ESP 7250 was close to competitors where print speeds were concerned. The ESP 7250 printed a 4×6 photo in as quickly as 35 seconds, but on average was closer to about 40 seconds a photo. When printing 8.5 x 11 photos, it took about two minutes. Decent, but not the fastest print speeds I’ve seen from a photo inkjet printer.
I thought photo quality was good but I’d be careful with the Kodak Perfect Touch Technology, sometimes it enhances photos, but sometimes they seem overexposed.
When compared to competitor’s prints, I thought the Kodak ESP 7250 held its own. In our colorful balloon image, the ESP 7250’s colors aren’t quite as vibrant as the Pixma MP640’s but overall they are both quite close to the original digital image.
Or in the puppy photos below, again, the ESP 7250 doesn’t pop quite as much as Canon Pixma MP640 or the HP Photosmart Premium but the detail is as good as or better than the other two shots. Plus, I noticed the other two printers cropped the image whereas the ESP 7250 stayed true to the original digital image.
Ink control tests
In our tests, we exhaust (printing until the color runs out) a new set of cartridges; exhaustion meaning the printer will not print another “quality” document without a replacement. We print at a ratio of three pages of black and white text to one full page of color. We decided on the 3:1 ratio because we felt that the average user is printing more text than color.
The Kodak ESP 7250 includes two ink cartridges in the box: the Kodak 10b black and the Kodak 10c color. Kodak also offers a high capacity black ink cartridge (Kodak 10XL) in addition to the standard capacity.
At the ratio of 3:1 in Kodak’s normal printing mode, the ESP 7250 printed 241 pages before the color ink cartridge expired (ran out of ink). At this point, the Kodak status monitor reported that black cartridge was less than half full. The ESP 7250 did not throw up any low ink warnings that halted progress but the status monitor will alert users to low ink with a status bubble that pops up at the beginning of each job.
Kodak offers much lower prices than many of their competitors on ink. Since the standard capacity cartridges printed about the same (or slightly less) as their more expensive counter parts, it’s plausible that you would save money depending on how you print and what printer you own currently.
Two paper jams to report during testing as well as a few blank pieces of paper in the middle of large print jobs. Most likely, the paper was stuck together and the printer didn’t register the paper. I also had an issue with the ESP 7250 not recognizing paper in the cassette and throwing up an error for an empty cassette. Both times this happened, I slide the cassette in and out and the printer immediately recognized that the cassette was full. I had this same issue with the ESP Office 6150 so I’m not sure if it’s the type of paper I was using, the way I loaded it or if that is just a flaw across models. Either way, it wasn’t a huge deal.