The Kodak EasyShare 5300 is nothing if not a crowd pleaser. With its inviting white shell, large buttons, and simple software, it's sure to attract digital photography novices. The vibrant but balanced color palette, meanwhile, is likely to have photo pros clamoring.
The tallest of the bunch, the 21-pound 5300 may seem a little cumbersome on your desktop. But we liked the design overall, which has big, easy-to-read buttons, a help button, and a bright 3-inch LCD screen for quick function selection, all of which make this all-in-one a cinch to use.
A separate enclosed tray for 4 x 6-inch paper helped us align our prints perfectly. As an added touch, the printer saves time by raising the appropriate tray as you select your paper size on screen. We like the included software's battery of one-touch editing tools, which are perfect for novices or those who don't have all day to edit photos.
When it comes to printing photos of people, the 5300 leads the pack. It handled skin tones and outdoor settings even better than the MP600, offering true-to-life color and excellent contrast. But indoors, photos started to falter. They showed plenty of detail, but some of the colors were muted compared with those from the MP600. We noticed in particular that the background seemed washed out, stripped of some of its color. A mint green shirt could almost pass for white, and a brown dress with white and pink flowers on it looked like it had been through the wash too many times. While the photos never smudged, they did feel wet when they came out.
Likewise, the 5300's color copies were good but not great. The entire image had a purplish overcast, and our subject's blue eyes appeared black, as did the shadows in her hair and behind her teeth. The entire image was grainy, and you could see striations throughout. These copies would be good enough for text and internal office or home use, but we wouldn't recommend using the 5300 to copy images.
Although the 5300 delivered good quality across the board, its efficiency was hit-or-miss. On one hand, it took almost seven minutes-by far the longest time-to print our business documents. On the other hand, it swept our scanning tests, processing a full-page color photo in just 21 seconds. It also had the second-fastest photo printing times: 51 seconds for 4 x 6s and 2 minutes 11 seconds for 8 x 10s.
The Kodak EasyShare 5300's ease of use is by far its best feature. And if you take primarily outdoor shots, you won't be disappointed with it. But if speed and all-around quality are top concerns, you can spend $20 less and get a better printer.
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