Kodak ESP 3250 All-In-One Inkjet Printer
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Kodak ESP 3250 All-In-One Inkjet Printer

$349.99 1 store $349.99
  • Output Type: Color
  • Family Line: Kodak ESP
  • Platform: PC
  • Technology: Inkjet
  • Printer Type: All-In-One Printer
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Kodak ESP 3250 -- good but keep a backup

Pros Inexpensive, quiet, compact and easy to use printer.  Extremely suitable for personal use.
Cons It is very inelastic about its ink supplies.  It cannot do faxes nor duplexing.
Recommended it? Yes
The Bottom Line:  Except for a few frustrations - which can easily be avoided - this is a very nice small printer, highly suitable for personal use.  BUT luck is a big factor!
I bought the Kodak ESP 3250 printer because of Kodak's strong advertising that its ink cartridges were less expensive than those of other printer brands.  That much is true, but the ad should have had an asterisk or two.

The 3250 calls itself an "All-in-One".  Well, not quite All.  It prints and it can scan & copy, nicely.  But it cannot operate as a fax. 

My printer arrived with everything in the box, and easily set up and was ready to run in less than half an hour. 

A few things to know:  The Kodak website led me to choose the 3250 by asking if I wanted to print on both sides of a page.  The 3250 is not a duplexing printer; it will print on one side (first, all the even numbered pages) and then you are expected to pick up those pages, turn them around and put them back into the feed and push the button again and now it will print the odd numbers pages.  It does this very nicely and user friendly .... but it is NOT a duplexer. (I discovered when doing the second side of a substantial number of sheets - more than two - it helps to remove all the blank paper from the feed because sometimes the machine pulls the wrong sheet to print the second side.)   However it can handle envelopes (at least one at a time) MUCH better than my old Canon Pixma printer!

The 3250 comes with its cartridges - it uses one black ink cartridge (narrow) and one multi-color cartridge (wide).  The cartridges that come with it are "introductory" size, meaning that they are about half the ink of a storebought cartridge; you'll probably have to replace them within a day or two.  This is where things get a bit sticky.

It is true that the Kodak ink cartridges are a bit less expensive than those for other brands of printers, BUT ... even when you're doing exclusively Black & White printing, a tiny amount of color ink gets used on every page.  When either cartridge runs out the printer will stop altogether, even in the midst of a project, until the cartridge is replaced.  It doesn't matter if the color runs out in the midst of a purely B&W project and the black ink cartridge is new; the printer will refuse to run until the color cartridge is replaced.  (The same happens if you're printing in color and the black ink cartridge runs out, even though the color cartridge has its own black ink.)  It is hard to articulate just how annoying and frustrating this can be. {An Update:  Running only black ink and not printing anything in color still uses color ink at a considerable rate.  My experience indicates that, even without a single page printed in color, you will use up a color cartridge for every two regular size black ink cartridges!  And keep at least two of each kind as backup - when I put my last color cartridge in the printer I immediately ordered more on the internet, but, even with only B&W work, that last color cartridge ran out and the printer stopped cold before the internet cartridges arrived, necessitating going out and buying a replacement for $19!}  Kodak's tech explained to me that their ink cartridges are cheaper than other manufacturers because the other companies have fresh (but temporary) printheads as part of their cartridges, whereas Kodak has a permanent printhead as part of the machine and its cartridge only supplies the ink, enabling the lower price; but the ink, including the color ink, MUST keep lubricating that printhead and keeping the nozzle open, so even color ink must flow with every B&W page.

Fortunately, there are even cheap refurbished versions of Kodak cartridges, so you can get third party replacement cartridges for a couple of bucks less than the Kodak brand.  Check Amazon for the current bargains. (Refurbished cartridges tend to have a little less ink than the storebought Kodak brand.)  Also, Kodak makes a deluxe black ink cartridge - the 10XL - which has about twice the black ink of the regular (10B) cartridge (there are even one or two off-brand suppliers of 10XL cartridges). 

My point is that you should always have on hand at least a few replacement cartridges, both black ink and multi-color.  By the way, even if you set your computer to print only black ink, the photocopier function of the 3250 defaults to color.  Even if you are copying a strictly B&W document, the copier will use the color cartridge ... but this can be avoided with the push of a few buttons before you make the copy.

You can save a bit of ink by adjusting the printer driver to use Draft, instead of Normal, mode, but this produces Very Poor quality prints, with streaks and rings of darker or lighter print in what was called a woodgrain pattern. 

Another ink saver - which I recommend HIGHLY to everyone, no matter what brand of printer they are using - is the ECO-Font website, ... http://www.ecofonts.com/
...which offers a truly magnificent range of free downloadable fonts, all of them processed to use a microcopic amount less ink or toner than regular fonts.  Many of these are processed twins of the most popular regular fonts (ECO's Mouser is a twin to Humanist521 BT Bold, ECO's Temps Nouveau to New Times, ECO's Vera Sans to Verdana, etc.).  The results are so good as to be virtually indistinguishable, even with a magnifier, from the more ink-wasteful fonts.

The ESP 3250 is small, relatively quiet, uncomplicated.  But it cannot do faxes, requires your intervention to print on both sides, and has this annoying quirk when a cartridge runs out.
- - - - - -

A postscript:  About 3 months after I bought my Kodak printer, it suddenly refused to budge, with an error message saying that the ink cartridge was "not recognized" -- this despite my shuffling around all the backup cartridges I had.  I phoned the Kodak helpline and an extremely helpful young lady promised to send me by overnight express the replacement that I needed.  Within 15 hours of my phone call, a brand new printhead was delivered (it's about the size of a deck of cards) - for free, with new black and color ink cartridges, also free - and the instant I installed it, everything worked perfectly.  Then, four days later, by something a bit less speedy than overnight express, I got a brand new Kodak printer - also free!  Well, the new printhead was all I needed, and I didn't want to abuse Kodak's generosity (and, also, since the new printhead in the old printer worked perfectly, I did not want to risk finding new and exciting defects in the new printer), so I sent the new printer back, unopened.  I mention this to call attention to Kodak's extremely helpful (and generous) tech support.
          
--  You may also want to consider getting a spare printhead, sold on the net for about $45, for backup.
  
     Further post script: The NY Times, Oct. 29, 2010, page B6, reported that Kodak was now relying on its sales of printers and ink cartridges to keep to company afloat - the development of digital cameras by a multitude of competitors pretty much washed away the market in photographic film and paper that Kodak dominated for nearly a century.
   
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Irritated PS  (Sept. 2011):  After less than 2 years my Kodak printer gave up the ghost.  It did it in a very strange way -- it had worn out a printhead but refused to work at all with a new printhead, although when I re-installed the old one it would print (but very badly).  So I had to replace the printer.  Now I must admit that I was giving it a workout - roughly 20 pages a day for 2 years, but ....  Fortunately this printer is not terribly expensive, but it didn't last as long as some other brands that used more expensive ink cartridges.  Whether, in the long haul, the Kodak is really less expensive or more expensive I cannot tell you.  But when it works, it works very well.

Further irritated PS (June 2012):  A member of my family also got a Kodak 3250 for herself, on my recommendation, about 18 months ago.  There's a distinct advantage, if you've got more than one computer in the household (or office) to have all the printers the same model or at least brand - we can call on each other for ink cartridges, printheads, and experience.  But in this case her Kodak seemed to have performed according to other Epinions of it (which were a lot more negative than mine);  it went through five printheads in 18 months, and the topper was when a brand new printhead worked fine on Friday and then went completely sour on Saturday.  Maybe there's a lot of luck required in buying the Kodak ESP 3250.  My relative is now insistent on buying a new printer of positively a different brand, and maybe when my Kodak hits the skids I will do the same.  --- Progress Report to same:  I persuaded her to email the Kodak company, they phoned her, listened to her complaint, and sent a free replacement 3250 printer, same as they did for me.  Yes, it's not perfect but if Kodak can't catch it on the fly at least they run after the grounders; free is not a bad price for a replacement printer.

PPS (2013):  After something in the neighborhood of two years, my Kodak printer went incurably sour.  I had serious problems with it a few months ago and the person on the Kodak tech help phoneline - although undoubtedly the cleverest computer person on his continent - was no help at all, promised only a new ink cartridge (which I didn't want) - which took nearly two weeks to arrive, but which time I cured that problem by emailing Geeks On Call for advice.  Now, 3 months later, the printer is down for the count and changing all the changeables - black ink, color ink, and printhead - had no effect.  And I discover that the printer is leaking ink like a squid under attack (don't let the ink get on anything, and wash it off your hands with Clorox bleach).   My opinion of Kodak printers is Much Lower than before.  I am looking for a non-Kodak replacement.

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Brand Kodak Esp 3250 All-in-one Inkjet Printer Esp3250

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Now complete all your printing, copying and scanning work in seconds with the ESP 3250 printer. Print your documents in bright colors and sharp text with this LCD printer that features high-quality pigment ink cartridges. Print 4 × 6-inch lab quality borderless photos with the ESP 3250 printer. This Kodak printer prints up to 30 pages per minute in black and 29 pages per minute in color. You can scan documents and photos which are up to 8.5 × 11.7 inches using this LCD printer. Even if you scan multiple images simultaneously, the software of this Kodak printer creates separate image files automatically. You can also edit your documents with optical character recognition feature of the ESP 3250 printer.

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