The EasyShare All-in-One printer quick setup guide is made of tougher paper stock than most printer quick start guides, but the design and function is the same—simple, easy to follow instructions and graphics.
No printed manual comes with the 5300 printer, earning Kodak points for saving trees but not for easy use. The Kodak AIO Home Center is designed to guide you through all the tasks, and the adjoining Help menu serves as the main user guide/manual, with choices for Getting Started (simple beginning tasks) and more advanced printing topics.
Out of the box (8.00)
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 comes with a power supply, adapter cord, black and color ink cartridges, setup guide, installation CD with drivers and EasyShare software, and two packs of sample paper—10 sheets of 4x6-inch Kodak Ultra Premium Photo Paper and 10 sheets of Premium Bright White document paper.
Preparing the EasyShare 5300 for printing was an easy, if not quick process. The task of unpacking, removing tape, and installing ink cartridges and paper was a no-brainer. The printer had to do some work on its own with calibration, which took 3 to 4 minutes. This involved printing out a calibration page on 4 x 6-inch photo paper, which the printer does automatically when the paper is loaded. The page then needs to be placed on the scanner glass for the printer to scan and calibrate itself.
Software installation, for either Macintosh or Windows computers from a single CD, can be performed as an easy or custom option. The easy option installs all the programs onto the user’s hard drive. (See the Software section below for a full list.) Users can select the custom option to select which programs to include. Total time for setup was approximately twenty minutes.
Drivers and Administration (6.00)
The Kodak AIO Home Center is the main interface for the Kodak EasyShare all-in-one photo printer series. From here, users can choose to print using the EasyShare software, scan and copy pictures or documents, make changes to the print and scan settings, access a Resource page that gives tips on printing and project ideas, and follow a link to the online store to purchase supplies such as ink, paper, and memory cards.
The AIO Home Center is not the most intuitive of programs. Many settings are automatic so it’s really a program for the general consumer unconcerned with too much control over their imaging.
The Print Configure option brings up a three-tabbed window. The first tab, General, provides a few basic settings such as standby time, language, and duplexer ink drying time, which adjusts the paper feeding to slow or quicken drying time so two-sided prints don’t get smudged.
The Print tab allows users to set the print quality for documents (Draft, Normal, and Best), but not for photos. Photo quality is automatically set as "Kodak Picture Quality." When using Kodak paper, the printer automatically senses the type of paper and adjusts the print settings automatically. It would be nice to have the option to adjust settings yourself, even if the Kodak Picture Quality was the default.
Other settings include layout and print quantity. This is also where users can select or deselect the scene balance control to prints. Scene balance is, in Kodak’s words, "the ability to adjust the color and density of digital images for brighter color and truer flesh tones." The difference between prints with this setting on and off showed negligible difference.
Copy and scan settings are accessed through the driver as well as the on-unit menu. Detailed information about settings can be found in the Copy and Scan sections.
Within Easy Share and other programs, the Document Properties can be accessed to change many of the same print options as in the configure window. A notable addition is the Advanced tab, which allows users to set the color space to either sRGB or Adobe RGB.
Kodak bundles a lot of extras in with its software and drivers. The Kodak AIO Home Center serves as the main portal to all the drivers and software, including scan, copy, easy print, and help utilities. Also included are utilities for creating greeting cards (baby, holiday, Halloween, Invitations, kids, moving, and Valentine’s Day).
Kodak Easy Share software is the main image organization program. Users can organize, print, and e-mail their images from here; they can also order prints online. The My Collection tab brings images into the software-created My Albums folder or others of their own selection. Dragging an image from here into the print tray on the right side of the window sets that image aside for printing.
The Print window provides basic print options. Users can also link to the driver via the printer setup button for more setting options. Unlike the scene balance setting, Kodak’s Perfect Touch Technology—enabled via a checkbox in the Print at Home tab—did produce noticeable results. Shadow areas were lightened while leaving skin tones and highlights mostly untouched. This resulted in a print with few blacks to speak of, making for an overall washed out look. Color seemed unaltered. This setting is probably best utilized on high-contrast images or prints with heavy shadows.
The E-mail prints button brings up a window giving the user options to either continue to open their e-mail program to send an image or to set up an account on kodakgallery.com where they can upload images to share.
Creative Projects brings users to kodakgallery.com once again to create cards and special occasion projects. The EasyShare Center opens an in-program browser to get product support, downloads, and connect to the kodakgallery.com.
The Scan program within the AIO Home Center provides both basic and advanced modes. The only selections allowable in the Basic mode are the type of image being scanned. Resolution is set at 300 for all image types. The advanced mode provides settings for image type, resolution, sharpening, and checkboxes for color restoration, red eye reduction, and Kodak Perfect Touch Technology. Users can select to preview their image or scan it directly. The Copy function is nearly identical to the Scan program, with additional options for paper and print size.
Warm-up time (4.55)
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 warmed up in a moderate amount of time, accomplishing the task in 33 seconds, compared to the 25 seconds that brought the Canon Pixma MP600 to ready mode and the 43 seconds necessary to awaken the slumbering HP Photosmart C5180.
Power Usage (4.63)
Watts used in the different function modes are not reported on Kodak’s spec sheets, but our tests, using a watt meter, showed that the Easyshare 5300 is quite a power hog compared to other all-in-one printers. It uses 6 watts while in idle mode or even when turned off, compared to 4 watts for the HP Photosmart C5180 and 0 watts for the Canon Pixma MP600 when both units are off.
When powered on and ready to print, the 5300 is still drawing 13 watts. After sending the printer a job, it sucks 24 watts, fully twice the power usage of the MP600, placing it nearly in laser category. The printer averaged 30.5 watts while head cleaning, with spikes as high as 41 watts.
Speed/Timing (Document) (3.93)
In the document printing test, the Kodak EasyShare 5300 scored at the bottom of the (admittedly small) pile of all-in-one printers currently in our lab. The HP C5180 was capable of black text document speeds four times greater than the Kodak, while the Canon MP600 produced nearly twice as many prints. When printing more memory and ink-intensive color documents—our seven-page test newsletter, with graphics, colored text, and photos—the gap between the printers closed, but the HP kept well ahead of the competition, with double the speed of both the Kodak and the Canon.
Photo printing tests showed Kodak outperforming the other two recently tested photo all-in-one printers (the Canon Pixma MP600 and the HP Photosmart C5180), with significant differences in 4x6 printing speeds and smaller gaps when printing 8.5 x 11-inch prints. The Kodak ES5300 printed 5.7-megabyte files from our test computer at 0.58 ppm and 19-megabyte files at 0.56 ppm, while the Canon MP600 was slightly less, at 0.52 ppm and 0.51 ppm, respectively.
Print times were slightly less when printing from a CompactFlash card, but still greater than the competition. The EasyShare 5300 turned the tables on the HP C5180, printing our smaller file nearly three times faster. The Kodak printer’s score is even more impressive considering that it wasn’t even able to print our large 19-megabyte image from a CompactFlash card; the printer’s card reader simply wouldn’t recognize the file. The printer would potentially have generated a much greater score had we been able to print the larger image. As a result, the printer scored 0 for those two tests.
Color Accuracy (2.58)
We test a printer’s color accuracy by measuring its output against an ideal set of color values, namely the Gretag Macbeth Colorchecker chart, shown below. As can be seen from the list below the chart, the colors correspond to often photographed colors, such as skin tones, sky, flowers, foliage, and gray tones. Each of these values has a corresponding color value, known as a La**b** value, associated with it. We score printers based on how far away the printer’s values deviate from the ideal values. These values are read using our EyeOne spectrophotometer from X-Rite. The resulting error values for each color, calculated as ΔE values, are averaged. This number provides us with our score.
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 scored low compared to the other all-in-one photo printers in our lab and, out of the ten printers we tested prior to printerinfo’s launch, it only scored better than one color laser and two dye sublimation compact printers. The ES5300’s mean color error value was 8.34, as opposed to a color error of 6.48 for the Canon Pixma MP600 and 7.64 for the HP Photosmart C5180. The printed chart appeared washed out and undersaturated, with most colors taking on a greenish-yellow cast. Blues and oranges in particular showed the greatest error. Gray tones, on the other hand, seemed to reproduce fairly well, showing the smallest amount of color error. A scan of the EasyShare 5300’s printed chart is show above for reference. (This image is not meant to be relied upon as an exact reproduction as colors as colors will shift in scanning and reproduce differently on different monitors.)
Color Gamut (3.74)
The range of colors a printer can reproduce, know as color gamut, is important to good reproduction of actual colors and tones. We compare a printer’s gamut with the standard Adobe RGB (1998) color space, which encompasses over one million colors (1,225,088 to be exact).
Good quality professional photo printers can score in the upper 50th percentile. The Kodak EasyShare 5300 scored below average, reproducing only about 50 percent of the Adobe RGB space. This score was just below that of the Canon MP600, which reproduced about 52 percent of the color space, and well above that of the HP C5180, covering only 42 percent of the color space. The score was not surprising given the quality of the prints produced by the ES5300.
A graphic representation of the two gamuts is shown below, with the grid pattern representing the Adobe RGB space and the solid color blob, the 5300's gamut.
The Easyshare 5300 scored among the highest of the printers tested for launch, with a DMax value of 2.43. Dmax is the maximum printable black possible for a given printer. This value is important in printing as the black tone sets the black edge for the range of tones possible in a print, with the white of the paper at the other extreme.
We test Dmax on both the manufacturer's and a third-party paper stock using both the included profiles and our own custom profiles. The ES5300 performed best (highest Dmax) on the Kodak Ultra Premium paper using the stock profile. Optimal densities would reach 2.50 for printed material, so the ES5300's value is excellent. Even the Canon Pixma MP600, which scored higher than the Kodak on the other quality tests, paled (pun intended) in comparison, with a Dmax of only 2.20.
Black and White (8.00)
The high Dmax score of the ES5300 is expressed in the quality of the black-and-white prints. The tonal range was excellent, with quality (detail) falling off slightly in the highlights. This may have been at least partially the result of optical brighteners in the paper (Kodak Ultra Premium High Gloss) pumping up the whites. Results were comparable to high-end printers such as the Epson Stylus Photo R2400 and similar to the excellent prints made with the Epson PictureMate Snap.
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 All-in-One printer, like many other multifunction printers has the general look of a kitchen appliance. Mostly white with a silver control panel and scanner bed, the unit is not flashy but still pleasing in appearance.
The 5300 printer's front consists of the silver 2-inch wide printer access door, which allows the user to view and change the ink cartridges. The front edge of the slim, white scanner/copier door can be seen just above this. The dark gray Kodak logo appears in the middle of the access door edge. Just below this the plain white body of the printer body has an indentation to allow easy grasping of the door. To the right of this are the memory card slots, which sit exposed to dust and debris. They are inset slightly into the printer body, with the smaller top slot accepting SD, MMC, Memory Stick, and xD cards while the bottom slot accepts Compact Flash. Directly below this at the bottom right corner of the printer’s front are the USB and PictBridge ports. The two are not labeled, so it’s not easy to tell which is which. To the left of this and lying at the base of the printer centrally located are the printer trays, which stick out like a huge tongue. A more detailed description of these can be read in the Components section below.
The back looks nearly as minimal as the sides, but it has a few items of note. The USB B port and the power cable port sit in a square indented trough in the lower left of the printer’s rear. Most of the rest of the lower back is taken up with the paper path door, which provides the user with a way to clear paper jams or feed paper directly through the rollers. This is opened by pinching two clasps, one on each edge, and pulling the whole panel out. Above this and lining the top edge is the 2-inch wide silver back of the access door. Above this can be seen the back of the scanner/copier door with the hinges that allow it to open.
The left side of the of the ES5300 looks like an access panel on the set of the Starship Enterprise, with it’s tapered design, metallic-looking plastic, and striped pattern. The wide top of the scanner lid side tapers down to a slimmer base. There are no functional components here.
This side is virtually a mirror image of the left side, with no ports, controls, or other functional elements.
The top of the printer is dominated by the scanner/copier door, all white with the Kodak logo on a small silver panel in the center. To the right of this and flush against the side is the ES5300’s control panel. The hinged LCD screen sits at the top, with the Kodak EasyShare 5300 name across the top and the words All-in-One Printer across the bottom on the light grey border surrounding the display. When the screen, which sits in a slim, grey plastic housing, lies flat, it is flush with printer top as it lies within a trough just a bit larger than the screen. The extra indent at the top allows the user to grasp the edge and pull it up.
Below the screen is the symmetrically designed control panel. The top row of five square buttons is controls for image viewing and selection: Rotate, Zoom (in and out), Proofsheet, and Transfer. This and the Photo button below are the only buttons to sit against a cutout into the faceplate. This arrangement indicates that these functions are connected. Below the top five buttons are the three main function buttons—Scan, Photo, and Copy, in a slight arc. All three buttons are round, raised and have an icon on them indicating their function as well as the printed word for each above them. The four-way navigational control lies centered below these, with the OK button in the center. The curved rectangular Menu and Help buttons flank the four-way on the left and right sides, respectively.
Centered below the four-way is the all important Start button. This button is uniquely clear plastic with the printed green universal start icon printed on the silver base beneath the plastic. The small round Cancel button sits to the left and the same-sized On/Off button sits to the right, with a small LED at eight o’clock that lights green when the printer is on. Directly below the Start button is the word Attention printed small above a pill-shaped LED that flashed orange when there’s an error or the printer needs attention.
The scanner door is lightweight and hinged at the back. These hinges can be raised so the door can sit flat against an open book being scanned or copied. It holds in place when fully open. There is no lock to keep it there, but the hinge is stiff enough to leave a span of about 2 inches, measured from the top, in which the door stays open. Many all-in-one scanner doors are designed to be lightweight like this; while this is user-friendly in one sense—i.e., the door is easy to lift—it’s awkward if the door is knocked while setting an item for scanning. The Canon Pixma MP600’s design has separate hinges to hold both the access door and the scanner door open for the user.
Opening the access door of the 5300 printer reveals a broad flat white surface with a 5" x 10" opening at the front which provides access to the printer cartridges when they slide into view along the carriage after the door is opened while the printer is powered on. A small sticker showing a graphic illustrating the removal and installation of the ink cartridges is affixed to the left of this opening. A smaller sticker with the printer service number sits below this.
The access door, containing the scanner platen and door, lifts from the front to provide access to the ink carriage. A single brace to hold the door open and lock it in place is at the back left above the stickers. Movement of the door is somewhat stiff, and the brace grabs the door sharply when engaging the lock, pulling the printer up and even lifting it slightly off the table surface. Returning the door to a closed position requires a bit of finesse, as it’s likely to slam down otherwise. Kodak needs to work on this, by either shifting more weight to the bottom or improving the hinges and brace.
A small, flat, L-shaped access panel sits in the back right corner which provides access to wiring. This is likely just for service personnel. In front of that is a small trough in which the bulge in the bottom of the access door fits. A small wing on the edge of this fits into an open slot which likely trips a switch to tell the printer that the cover is open.
The Kodak EasyShare 5300’s 3-inch LCD screen is bright and clear, if a little blown out in the highlights. Scrolling through images occurs quickly although the images take a second or two to resolve completely. The zoom function is slow to read or prepare the image, but once it does, zooming is quick and gives a good sense of the resolution of the screen.
Paper Trays (8.00)
The ES5300 features two main input trays, sandwiched together into one unit, much like the HP Photosmart all-in-one printers. The topmost, output part of the tray is hinged to provide access to the letter-sized input tray below. A 4x6-inch input tray is inset into the output tray and sits below the surface behind a clear plastic tray that lies flush with the output tray surface. The 4x6-inch tray needs to be pushed into the printer when in use and pulled out when not in use. An LED on the right side of the tray lights when the small tray is pushed in properly, and it also serves to alert the user that the tray is in place if they are planning to make letter-sized prints. Both input trays feature locks to keep the paper in place. Efficiently designed and functional, the paper trays work well.
CD Burner (0)
This all-in-one printer does not feature a CD burner, similar to others in its class and price range.
An external AC adapter and cord provide the power interface on the EasyShare 5300. Manufacturer reported specs and our own power usage test results are reported in the Performance section (link).
Internal Memory (8.00)
The 5300 has an internal memory of 128 mb, well beyond most all-in-one photo printers in this class. The HP C5180 has 64 mb, while the Canon MP600 only has 42 kb of RAM.
This printer can only perform one function at a time, which is on par with other all-in-ones in this class.
Hard Drive (0)
The 5300 printer does not have a hard drive for storing information.
Color ink cartridges and photo paper are the main accessories available for the EasyShare 5000 series printers. Color cartridges sell for $14.99 and black ones for $9.99; alternatively, they can be purchased as a set for $21.99. Printer packs are also available, which bundle paper and inks together. Two packs are available on Kodak’s website. The Kodak Photo Value Pack includes 180 4x6-inch sheets of Kodak photo paper with one color ink cartridge for $17.99, while the Kodak Premium Photo Pack includes 135 4x6-inch sheets of premium photo paper with one ink cartridge. Kodak also sells their own memory cards, a Bluetooth adapter for $49.99, a print duplexer for $79.99, and a 6-foot USB capable for the exorbitant price of $24.99.
Controls/Buttons/Dials***(9.00)*The control panel on the Kodak EasyShare 5300 is nicely designed and easy to operate. The buttons respond well with no delay in function. The layout makes sense, with the large print button near the smaller Power and Cancel buttons, the three main function buttons aligned along the top, the photo-specific buttons closest to the Photo button, and the Menu and Help buttons alongside the 4-way navigator. The symmetrical design is both pleasing and simple.
The Menu design of the Kodak 5300 is similar to Kodak’s digital cameras. A dark blue background sits behind a title menu bar in light blue with the menu selections listed below in white san-serif type inside a rectangular box. The selected item appears in yellow. Navigation through the menu is conducted via the four-way navigation control.
Size / Footprint (3.76)
While this unit is not the heaviest all-in-one printer, at 21 pounds it’s certainly not meant to be portable. In fact, the unit’s lighter weight is one of its downfalls. The brace for the access door yanks so hard away from the user’s hand that the force actually pulls the unit up off the table. Measuring 18.8 x 14.7 x 8.8 inches, the ES5300 is comparable in size to most other all-in-one photo printers in this price class.
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 accepts 2 proprietary ink cartridges—one black and one 5-color cartridge, which includes photo black, red, blue, and yellow inks, plus a clear overcoat layer. The head, containing 3,840 nozzles, can print 2400 dots per inch horizontally across the page.
This is where Kodak is staking its new claim in the printer market. The company is selling inks for the new EasyShare All-in-One photo printer line at roughly half the price of most of the inks on the market—$9.99 for black inks and $14.99 for color. Kodak also provides the option to purchase both cartridges together for $21.99. The company claims 4 x 6-inch color prints will cost only 14 cents per print and black documents will cost 3 cents per print, based on the newly created ISO 24711 testing standards, which stipulate the use of a 5-page document printed on default settings. More can be read in a recent printerinfo news article about independent testing of Kodak’s claims.
While the cheaper cost per print is compelling and backed up by independent research (paid for by Kodak, by the way), one consideration should be taken into account. The five-ink color cartridge lasts only as long as the individual colors. If one color runs out, while the rest have plentiful ink still within, the cartridge is no longer usable. For prints that have equal amounts of color throughout, this wouldn't be a problem. Since this scenario is not common or even realistic, the actual cost of the ink cartridges has to be weighed against the utility of individual cartridges such as are found in many other competing models from Canon, Epson, and HP.
Ink Management Tool (6.00)
Ink levels can be monitored via the 5300 Main Menu or in the driver windows on the computer. In both cases a simple tubular graphic is shown that approximates the level of ink if it were inside a cylinder. As with most other printers, this is a coarse measure and is only approximate. When nearly out of ink, but still with ink shown on the graphic, a warning appeared stating that color ink is low and the user should prepare a new cartridge. Users can continue to print, and our prints immediately showed a decline in ink. Other manufacturers’ printers, such as Canon, will not allow printing to continue when inks get below a certain level. Although somewhat annoying, this does prevent users from wasting paper.
Print Quality (5.00)
Settings for print quality are limited in the on-unit menu. Users can choose three quality settings, Draft, Normal, and Best. and Add Date to Prints. These are pretty minimal options but not a lot better than other printers in this class.
Internal Editing (4.00)
There are minimal editing functions in the EasyShare 5300’s on-unit menu. Photos can be printed in black and white or color, and users can turn Scene Balance, Kodak’s brightening tool, on or off.
Dedicated B&W Settings / Effects (5.00)
Users can elect to print photos in color or black and white, and that is the extent of the monochrome settings on this all-in-one printer.
Media Types (7.00)
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 supports the standard all-in-one printer variety of papers, from 3.5 x 5 inches up to A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches), including plain, coated, photo, iron-on, transparency, labels, and greeting cards.
The 5300 is compatible with USB devices and has two ports for plugging cameras into. It also is compatible with multiple direct print formats such as PictBridge, DPOF (Direct Print Order Format), MIPC (Mobile Image and Printing Consortium), PTP/IP (Picture Transfer Protocol over Internet Protocol), Nikon’s image transfer technology for sharing images over a wireless LAN.
Media Slots (4.00)
The EasyShare 5300 can support the full complement of standard memory cards, including CompactFlash type I and II, SD, MM, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and xD memory cards. It also supports Memory Stick Duo, miniSD, and MicroSD with optional adapters.
The slots are located in the front of the printer, with no door or cover. An LED indicates whether or not there is a card installed—flashing when the card is being read and solid to indicate that there is a card in the printer.
Kodak reports that the card readers can only read images up to 8 megabytes or 12 megapixels in size. However, the ES5300 would only display some of our stock test images that were larger than 5 megabytes on a CompactFlash card. We also tried using test images within the 5-mb to 6-mb range taken with our lab cameras, the Canon 30D and the Nikon D200 (8.2 and 10.2 effective mp, respectively), and only a select few of these images would display. Other all-in-one photo printers in our labs, such as the Canon Pixma MP600 and HP Photosmart C5180, and even most compact photo printers were able to display and print these images.
Wireless Interface (2.00)
Bluetooth 1.2 connectivity is possible with the purchase of an optional adapter. No other wireless connections are possible with the ES5300.
Other than USB connected network hubs, the EasyShare 5300 is not compatible with networking.
Copy Features (7.00)
The copy features on the 5300 are standard fare, with settings for quantity, color or black and white, quality (draft, normal, best), scaling, and brightness (-3 to +3). Within the AIO Home Center, the Copy settings tab allows users to set the same options. However, choosing photo layout brings up several additional layout options, including bordered; borderless; 3, 4, or 9 per page; and 2' x 2', 3' x 3', or 4'; x 4' poster. Brightness can also be set, with gradations from -3 to +3.
Copy Speed (4.18)
The Easyshare 5300’s copy speeds were midland compared to the other two all-in-one photo printers tested. Page per minute rates for black text were nearly twice that of the HP Photosmart C5180, but only about two-thirds of the Canon Pixma MP600's rate.
Copy Color Quality (5.88)
The ES5300's color copy quality went the way of the print color scores. It scored well below the other two all-in-ones in our lab. The Kodak printer’s uncorrected Δ C value, which is an expression of how far the printer’s colors deviated from the ideal Gretag Macbeth Colorchecker chart values, was 8.51, compared to errors just below 7 for the other two printers. In addition, the ES5300’s mean saturation was 94%, meaning the printer undersaturated colors. The HP printer scored only slightly better, while the Canon printer scored 108 percent.
The chart below shows where the Kodak printer’s color values fall within the sRGB color space. The circles represent the printers’ values and the squares, the ideals. Many of the ES5300’s colors deviate considerably from the ideal colors, with many of the greens, yellows, and oranges trending toward the center of the color space. This move toward white means undersaturation is occurring. Dark flesh tones scored well, but lighter skin tones showed up redder than the ideal. Blues were aligned with the ideal colors fairly well, except for cyan, which strayed well toward blue.
Scan Features (5.50)
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 can accommodate up to A4-sized paper. The lightweight door lifts easily and stays in place at its most open position. The 5300 uses a charge coupled device (CCD) sensor, much better quality than the contact image sensors (CIS) typically found in other all-in-one printers in this price range. This should result in greater image quality. Consumers usually have to pay an extra $100 to get a CCD.
The scanner makes some noise when it’s performing its function, not nearly as noisy as the HP Photosmart all-in-one scanners, but louder than the very quiet Canon Pixma models.
Computer interface with the ES5300's scanner is via the AIO Home Center. Settings can be adjusted in the Configure main window. Like the printer driver, this is also a 3-tabbed menu—General, Document, and Picture—with options to set scan type, resolution (75 to 1200 dpi), file type, and scan destination.
The on-unit menu has very few settings available. Users can only choose: whether they’re scanning a document or a photo; the destination (application, memory card, or file); if application, the programs, AIO Home Center, Microsoft Paint, or Easy Share; and to save the settings. This is a pretty meager selection. Not having the ability to select resolution may be an issue for some users.
Scan Speed (6.16)
What was surprising about the ES5300's scanning speeds is that within a particular resolution, scan times were consistent across scan type and size, only deviating by a second or two. The other all-in-one printers varied considerably depending on whether text, graphics, or photos were being scanned.
The Kodak printer scored in between the HP and the Canon. The HP C5180 was able to scan black text documents more quickly at resolutions up to 300 dpi. The MP600 was toughly equivalent to the Kodak within those same resolutions, even for graphics. The ES5300 scanned 8.5 x 11-inch color docs and photos slightly faster than the MP600, but was notably slower for 8.5 x 11-inch text docs and 4 x 6-inch photos.
Comparisons were impossible at 1200 dpi as the Kodak ES5300 failed to scan all but 4 x 6-inch photos at this resolution. A warning message appeared prior to scanning informing us that scanning may not be possible at this resolution (see error window at right). The unit worked for awhile at it, but eventually failed. A percentage equivalent to the number of failed tests was removed from the printer’s score to compensate.
Scan Color Quality (4.72)
Despite our hopes that the EasyShare 5300's CCD sensor would result in improved image quality, the all-in-one printer didn’t score well on our color quality test. To assess the color accuracy of the scanning function, we scan a Gretag Macbeth Colorchecker chart (link to pop-up window) and run the image through Imatest to determine how far apart the scanner’s color values are from the ideal Colorchecker Lab values.
The Kodak scanner has a color error value of 10.6, just slightly worse than the Canon Pixma MP600 and significantly worse than the color error of 8.39 that the HP C5180 yielded. Mean saturation was also greater, at 112 percent. This was still within an acceptable range, but closer to the range where loss of detail can occur in saturated colors.
Foliage (square 4 on the Colorchecker chart) showed the greatest error, trending toward yellow. Manufacturers often "adjust" colors in cameras and scanners to compensate for what their research shows that people like to see in their images; in this case, more yellow in their foliage. Reds and yellows also showed significant error. Dark flesh tones were further (more yellow) from the ideal than the HP and Canon models.
Fax Features (0)
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 does not have fax functionality. This is normally a function included with office all-in-one printers, not photo all-in-one printers.
Kodak's claims of lower cost per print certainly make this an attractive buy. At $199, it contains all the functions of standard all-in-one photo printers in this price class, with relatively fast document print times and equivalent speed photo printing. However, print, scan, and copy quality did not stack up to the competition. For the money, better quality all-in-one photo printers can be found than the Kodak EasyShare 5300.
Although the Kodak EasyShare 5300 contains most of the same features as the competition, such as the Canon Pixma MP600 and the HP Photosmart C5180, construction and output quality did not compare favorably.
The MP600 sits more securely on the table and protects its internal workings, paper trays, and media slots much better than the Kodak ES5300 or the HP5180. The HP C5180 has a very similar design to the 5300, except for the control panel, which is arrayed along the front panel of the printer. The organization of the Kodak printer’s control panel is much better designed and intuitive than the HP printer.
Overall, print quality of the EasyShare 5300 did not stack up to the competition. Black text was crisp, but not as dense as the HP C5180. Colors on graphics prints were muddy and nowhere near the original colors. Color photos were also muddy and with a greenish cast; the 5300 exhibited greater color error than other printers tested.
Ease of Use (7.50)
We found the Kodak EasyShare 5300 an easy all-in-one printer to use. The control panel is simple and intuitive, and buttons respond well. Loading inks and paper doesn't tax the brain or brawn. The software, although not the best of programs, is still not difficult to navigate and operate.
Initially, we had high hopes for the Kodak EasyShare 5300, with its highly touted, inexpensive ink and potentially better quality scans due to the addition of a CCD sensor. However, our hopes were not quite realized. The printer was slim on features in both the software and on-unit menus, and settings were also limited. Print, scan, and copy quality all lagged behind competing models, with comparable all-in-one printers from Canon and HP producing prints with superior color accuracy and wider gamuts. Failure of the unit to scan at 1200 dpi in three of our tests was also troubling and was a problem that did not occur in any other printer tested. The EasyShare 5300 also failed to read images from memory cards, even those wihtin the parameters stated by the manufacturer. Power usage was much greater than competing models, and document print speeds also lagged behind. One of the only tests in which the Kodak 5300 printer excelled was in photo print speeds, which outpaced the Canon MP600 and HPC5180 by a small margin.
What that leaves us with in Kodak's favor is cost. We were not able to test Kodak's claims ourselves, but based on their own information and the results of independent testing, the EasyShare 5300 does beat out many competing models. Including ink and paper, 4 x 6-inch prints form the Easyshare 5300 costs 31 cents each. Most other printers tested yielded costs of 50 cents or more.
Choosing a multifunction printer is getting more and more confusing as new models are added to the list every day. Consumers have to navigate the world of all-in-one photo printers, all-in-one office printers, and multifunction toner printers, with different features, resolutions, dpi, displays, etc. Unfortunately, Kodak only brings another mediocre model to the table. While cost per print is indeed lower than the competition, those users more concerned with quality than cost will want to look elsewhere to meet their all-in-one printer needs.
Meet the tester
Tom Warhol is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
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