You don't have to spend a lot to get a printer that's connected and smart phone-friendly. For $99, the Kodak ESP C310 lets you print wirelessly from your PC or iOS device and helps you keep saving money with low-cost ink cartridges. While this all-in-one doesn't offer the bells and whistles and sky-high resolution of higher-end machines, the C310 gets the job done.
At 18.3 x 7.8 x 13.8 inches and 18 pounds, the Kodak ESP C310 is the smallest, lightest, and least expensive all-in-one printer we've recently tested. Its sturdy, all-matte surfaces, single-tray form factor, and miniature 1.5-inch full-color LCD screen make it a good choice for high school or college students. The top edge doubles as a lid for the scanner, and behind it sits a fold-up paper tray that accommodates 100 sheets of regular paper and 20 sheets of photo paper.
A 1.5-inch display sits at a 45-degree angle. Because the display is not touch sensitive, the C310 has several hardware buttons, including Back, Cancel, Home, and Power. Beneath those is a five-way direction pad with a selection key in its center, as well as a large Start button.
On the front face of the ESP C310 is a Wi-Fi logo with a bright blue LED (letting you know when you're connected) and a card reader for SD, SDHC, MultiMedia, and Memory Stick cards. The print bed folds down from a closed position, turning into an output tray. There are only two ports around back, one for power and a USB 2.0 port. (You'll need to provide your own USB cable.)
We plugged in the Kodak ESP C310, navigated to the "Network Set-up" menu, and selected "Wireless Network Wizard." After entering our office network's wireless password, we installed Kodak's print and scanner utility, which took 14 minutes--by far the longest install process of all the printers we tested. Afterwards, we simply navigated to Devices and Printers on our Windows 7 notebook, selected the C310 from a list of other Wi-Fi-connected printers, and opted for a Wi-Fi rather than a USB connection.
Kodak Pic Flick
Like the Epson and HP iPrint apps, Kodak's Pic Flick prints pictures over Wi-Fi from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch's Photos app. Like Canon's iOS app, Pic Flick can only print pictures, not documents or web pages; however, Kodak's app doesn't let you adjust the photo size or print multiple copies. Those controls must be adjusted on the ESP C310 itself, before hitting "Send" in Pic Flick. The ESP C310 took 39 seconds to print a 4 x 6-inch photo from an iPod touch. That was five seconds longer than the $159 Canon Pixma MG6120 when paired with Canon's Easy Photo-Print iOS app, and 12 seconds longer than it took the Epson Artisan 835.
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Print Performance and Quality
For a $99 all-in-one, the Kodak ESP C310 offered competitive photo quality, but it didn't offer as much detail as the Epson Artisan 835 and the Canon MG6120. Those printers showed faint lines of facial hair in a printed image, but we couldn't see that with the Kodak ESP C310. Also, early 4 x 6-inch prints from the C310 showed signs of printhead banding, but after a few more test prints, images came out with accurate saturation and shadows.
When it came to printing via W-Fi from our laptop, the ESP C310 wasn't exactly a speed demon. Over Wi-Fi, the Kodak printed out a Word document in 41 seconds; that's faster than the Canon (44 seconds) but slower than the Epson (35 seconds) and the HP Photosmart C510a (24 seconds). The ESP C310 was zippier than the rest of the field when printing our 8.5 x 11 photo wirelessly (2:03), but you're also getting lower-quality images.
Inkjet Cartridge Price
The Kodak C310 All-in-One uses one black cartridge and a single color cartridge that bundles cyan, magenta, and yellow inks. Black ink cartridges come in a standard size with a 335-page yield that costs $9.99 and a 30XL high-volume size that yields 670 pages and costs $19.98. Standard-size color cartridges yield 275 pages and cost $17.99, while high-volume cartridges yield 550 pages and cost $33.98. Other machines don't include several inks in one cartridge, which raises the price of using those machines. However, Kodak's print quality may suffer as a result.
The Kodak ESP C310 is capable of scanning pictures or documents at 1200 x 1200 dots per inch, a slightly low resolution. The color copier is capable of 20 to 500-percent scale adjustments and can print up to 99 copies at once. Those are standard specs for an all-in-one.
The ESP C310 All-in-One is light on bundled software. After the software installation, we found a simple scanner utility and printer setup wizard, but nothing else. The scanner software allowed us to control which program stored scanned images (Paint, Photoshop, or any photo editor), picture quality of scans (High, Maximum, or Normal), resolution (75-600 dpi), and whether scans were in color or black and white. All print and copy controls--page size, quality, image size--are available on the C310 itself.
The $99 Kodak ESP C310 is a good choice as a starter printer/copier/scanner for students or other shoppers on a budget. The Pic Flick app makes it easy to print photos from your iOS device, and the all-in-one itself has an easy-to-use interface. While the photo quality isn't stellar, the C310 is a solid value when you add in Kodak's economical cartridge pricing.