Print speed and quality tests
Kodak advertises print speeds up to 6 ppm in black and 4 ppm in color for the Office ESP 2170, and we found these numbers to be inaccurate during our tests.
When printing our 40-page black and white text document in normal print mode (the default), the ESP Office 2170 printed a first page out in about 17 seconds with an average print speed of 4 ppm and overall time of over 10 minutes. The printer was extremely consistent with this time, leading me to believe that it would be very difficult to get the ESP Office 2170 to print 6 ppm in normal print mode.
When printing our 40-page black and white text document in draft mode, the ESP Office 2170 printed the first page out in about 11 seconds with an average print speed of 11 ppm, although we saw print speeds as fast as 13 ppm. The overall print time for this test was just over three minutes.
Adding in color slowed down document print times as expected, but the color photo printing was actually quite competitive with other inkjets; both in the Office ESP 2170’s class and more expensive models.
The ESP Office 2170 printed an 8.5 x 11-inch color photo in slightly over a minute and a half. When printing 4×6 photos, the average print time was 38 seconds.
The photo print quality was really excellent, reminding me of images we saw from the Kodak ESP 9. The color was on point and the images were crisp. Using editing tools like Kodak Perfect Touch actually enhanced the images without washing out the color like we saw on the ESP Office 6150. I was so impressed by the quality of the photos because often on “office” inkjets, the photo quality isn’t as good as their photo counterparts. And Kodak provides these images with low(er) cost tri-color ink cartridges.
I was hesitant to put up the balloon sample below and the grass puppy shot above because the scanned images really don’t do the printouts justice but I figure it’s still a reflection on the scanner quality if the image looks discolored. For instance, the green grass looks almost neon and the balloon colors are a shade off.
The original digital image, left, Kodak ESP Office 2170 print out, right
The scanner did a better job with images that weren’t as “colorful” and a good job with black and white documents.
Speaking of, the text quality was quite good as well. The black ink was dark, the letters sharp and dry to the touch. In draft mode, the ink is much lighter, but was still easy for me to read. Some areas on the draft print outs could be lighter and less crisp than others; usually towards the bottom lines.
I did have some print pauses during our print tests, most noticeably during the ink tests when I was printing a combination of black and white text and full color. I saw a pause up to a minute long during these tests.
When printing more “normally,” the pauses were less severe, closer to 15 seconds or so and usually when printing larger documents.
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 Office 2170 includes the two latest ink cartridges from Kodak: the Kodak 30 black and the Kodak 30 color. Kodak also offers a high capacity black ink cartridge (Kodak 30XL) and a high capacity color ink cartridge (Kodak 30 XL color) in addition to the standard capacity, but since they weren’t included in the original packaging, we didn’t perform the exhaust test on them.
At the ratio of 3:1 in Kodak’s default printing mode, the ESP Office 2170 printed 265 pages before the printer halted the current job to alert me that the black ink cartridge had expired (ran out of ink) and needed to be replaced. There wasn’t low ink status warning that popped up, but users can keep track of ink levels through the Kodak Status Monitor (that appears briefly at the beginning of each job with a red exclamation point if a cartridge is getting low), through the display on the printer and through the Home Center.
Kodak promises the “lowest total ink replacement cost” for their all-in-one printers based on the standard capacity cartridges, although competitors must be getting close now that the color ink cartridge is priced at $17.99. Also, like the ESP C310 which uses the 30 line of cartridges, I had to replace the black ink after printing less than 300 pages. The lowest total ink replacement cost is nice, but it’s the lowest cost per page that really matters and I’m not sure Kodak has that prize in the bag with the “exceptional cost per page.”
No paper jams to report which leads me to the one nice thing about a rear fold out tray; it offers a nice, direct paper path.