printers

Kodak ESP 3.2 Review

The Kodak ESP 3.2 is a fairly mediocre entry-level printer.

June 04, 2012
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Introduction

The Kodak esp 3.2 is an entry-level printer with entry-level performance. While it does do well with maintaining detail, it doesn't give you the performance that you'd expect from a higher-priced printer, and that's fine: it's a budget printer. If you're okay with a glacial printing pace, the Kodak esp 3.2 may be worth a look.

Design & Usability

A straightforward multifunction printer, though a bit limited

While the Kodak esp 3.2 isn't the kind of printer that requires a ton of extra considerations during setup, it is fairly unusual in that it requires you to install the print head on your own. This isn't a difficult task by any means: Once you've opened the bag and removed any packaging, the print head clicks into place. Just follow the included setup instructions, and you're very unlikely to run into trouble.

It is fairly simple to prep the printer for new ink, clean its heads, or print a test page. Tweet It

All of your printer's controls are accessed through the panel the screen rests on, as the screen itself and the icons surrounding it are touch-sensitive, and register your commands in context. While you may or may not use them until you swap out ink cartridges, the controls are well-labeled. On-screen menus are logically nested and easy to navigate, though the icons do take some getting used to. Should you end up in a place that you need advanced controls to accomplish your goal, new icons will show up to give you the extra function commands necessary. It is fairly simple to prep the printer for new ink, clean its heads, or print a test page.

While at first glance it looks like the Kodak esp 3.2 has only one SD/HC card slot, that little hole on the front is more versatile than that; if you still use MemoryStick media cards, those can also be used by the esp 3.2 as well. There is an 802.11n wireless card among its innards, and can be shared and used over a wireless network. Unfortunately for anyone who hasn't made the switch to Wi-Fi yet, there isn't an ethernet port on the back, so you'll have to use a type A to type B USB cable (not included in the packaging).

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Features & Performance

Low performance, but fair enough for the price

The Kodak esp 3.2 uses two ink cartridges: black and CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow). New users may find this convenient, but will end up hating in the long run, especially if you like to print lots of photos. Why is that? Well, if you ever run out of one of the three included dyes in the color ink cartridge, most users will be forced to discard the entire cartridge, wasting the leftover ink. To the cartridges' credit, however, they do manage to last for quite a while, giving us over 100 color photo prints in the lab.

It can handle just about any paper size that's less than 8.5 inches wide. Tweet It

If you're looking for a printer that can print on a decent range of media, the Kodak esp 3.2 should satisfy many basic needs, as it can handle just about any paper size that's less than 8.5 inches wide. Due to this fact, the printer fits the multifunction role well, as it can accommodate a typical office workload, but also survive the varying demands of a family's usage.

Overall, ESP 3.2 has a very basic performance in terms of color and detail preservation—perfect for family photos, but not so much for professional prints by any stretch of the imagination. Not only is the color accuracy on the low end of average, but the color gamut is a bit small. Would Instagram-using kids really care about that so much if they're adding filters to their pictures? Probably not.

Conclusion

You get what you pay for, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, the Kodak esp 3.2 is a basic, entry-level multifunction printer that is most at home in a dorm or beside a family computer. With color performance that allows you to print off decent-looking photos quickly, and a good level of detail, the Kodak esp 3.2 does prove its worth at its price point. Just keep in mind that color cartridges with several inks tend to waste a bunch of dye in the long run, and consequently, money.

That being said, you get what you pay for. If you're looking for professional quality prints, or prints at non-standard sizes, you're much better off looking for a pro-photo printer. It's also a bit mystifying as to why the color gamut is so narrow, but our tests didn't uncover any glaring errors as a result of this. Additionally, the ESP 3.2 is incredibly slow in comparison to other printers, and will likely frustrate younger users.

If, however, you're looking for a family printer, or a printer to be sent off to school with a college student, the Kodak esp 3.2 merits consideration for general use. It may not top the performance charts, but it's an affordable printer with acceptable performance as long as speed isn't a major concern.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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