Kodak Easyshare 5300 All-in-One

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Kodak Easyshare 5300 All-in-One
  • Kodak Easyshare 5300 All-in-One
  • Kodak Easyshare 5300 All-in-One

Pros

  • Print from media cards, USB thumb drives, competitive ink pricing

Cons

  • Not the cheapest printer in its class, photo colours are sometimes a little dull

Bottom Line

Getting the highest print quality out of the 5300 costs about 30 cents per photo, which is a pretty good result. And those ink prices may be hard to pass up.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 3 stores)

See all prices

Kodak's new EasyShare All-in-One inkjet multi-function printers aren't the cheapest in their class, but when combined with the company's paper-and-ink packs, they tout the prospect of printing borderless 4x6in photos for as little as 30 cents each--about half the industry average. I found that claim valid and the photo quality very good, though I noticed some muted colours and slight graininess.

We tested the $299 EasyShare 5300 All-in-One, which prints, scans and copies. It has two USB ports for printing photos directly from a USB thumb drive or a digital camera. All of the EasyShare models have a 100-sheet input tray, a 20-sheet 4x6-inch photo-paper feeder, and a 50-sheet output tray. The EasyShare 5300 has dedicated buttons for printing, copying and scanning; media card readers; and pop-up LCD screens (3in) to make it easy to print without a PC if you wish.

Auto-sensing settings

The EasyShare 5300 supports Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS X. It comes with Kodak's Easy-Share photo management app, which makes light work of printing and scanning.

If you're using Kodak's paper, the non-print side includes a watermarked code that a sensor in the printer reads to invoke the best print mode automatically. Another sensor determines whether you've inserted plain paper or glossy media, and adjusts print settings accordingly. In our speed tests the 5300 printed text pages at 6.2 pages per minute (ppm), far from the slowest we've seen but just about half the speed of Canon's $299 Pixma MP600. In printing plain-paper graphics at default settings and maximum-quality glossy 4x6 photos, the results averaged 2.1ppm and 1.2ppm, respectively -- which is about average among recently tested inkjet MFPs.

Inks and pricing

The EasyShare All-in-Ones use a pigment-ink system with one black-ink cartridge and one five-ink tank. (One of each comes bundled with the printer.) The latter tank supplies true photo black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and a protective coating that covers clear spaces on a print to provide uniform gloss and improved stain protection, according to the company.

Kodak sells the $29.95 Photo Value Pack, which includes 100 sheets of 4x6in glossy paper. Its claimed cost per photo is 30 cents.

Using the Photo Value Pack and relying on the 5300's auto-detection system, I was able to print 205 photos before running out of ink. Because all photos have different levels of colour, results will vary; but in my tests the company's claim of 30-cent prints held up.

The company's Premium Paper, used in our PC World Test Centre photo evaluations, produced even better quality. Skin tones were spot on, though colours weren't as vibrant as we'd have liked.

In our plain-paper graphics tests, our judges rated the 5300's output as Fair due to some horizontal banding, though such banding isn't unusual for MFPs of this class. The 5300 produced well-formed text too, but characters often had dirty edges.

Kodak doesn't sell the Premium Paper in a value pack, unfortunately; it comes only in packs of 50, for $39.95. Also, you must buy the $34.99 four colour-ink cartridge separately, which on the Premium Paper produces 100 4x6 photos, claims Kodak.

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