Kodak has risen from a latecomer at the all-in-one ball, to being the second best seller after HP, based on both units and price. The office hero 6.1 is the SOHO model in the new range, which is the third generation of machines, after the ESP and ESP C ranges. This still uses the same, very economical print engine and is their new, smart, square-cut style hero.
The Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is rather large, but this is because it’s a fully duplex device that can scan both sides of a document in a single task. It does have to feed each sheet through three times, to maintain the order of multipage documents.
The control panel runs across the front of the machine and includes a number pad to support the fax functions and a 61mm colour LCD display, which is adequate on a small and home office machine.
At the bottom of the front panel is a single, 200-sheet paper tray, which can also take 40 photo blanks, though not at the same time. To the right, at the top of the panel, is a memory slot for SD and MemoryStick cards and a USB socket, which also supports PictBridge cameras too.
Kodak has taken up the challenge from HP and introduced a remote ePrint-esque print function. The company has chosen to go with Google’s Cloud Print. This is very easy to link to your phone or tablet to print to the machine, from just about anywhere on the planet. How handy is that? – we still remain unconvinced.
Kodak claims speeds of 8.5ppm and 5.5ppm for black and colour prints, but under testing, we didn’t get that close to those figures – with 4.8ppm and 3.1ppm, respectively. The duplex speed holds up quite well, thanks to Kodak’s comparatively quick drying, pigmented inks.
However, as with the hero 5.1, the size of the page image is reduced in comparison with single-sided pages, when printing duplex pages. It’s understandable that a duplex mechanism might need bigger margins on pages, but the printer should at least let you know what it’s going to do. On this machine, the size reduction is true of duplex copies, too.
Print quality is pretty good, with clean, black text and sharp bright graphics. Photos also print well, with natural colours and little loss of detail in darker shades.
Kodak still makes some of the cheapest printers to run. It uses the same black and multi-colour cartridges as in the ESC machines, with photo black and gloss-enhancer included in the five-ink, colour one. Costs come out at 1.5p for an ISO black page and 4.3p for an ISO colour one. While some competitors can get close on black cost, most are a long way behind when printing colour ones.
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- Full duplex copying as well as print.
- Duplex pages reduce in size, by around 10-percent.
The office hero 6.1 produces good plain paper and photo prints. Remote print is handy, if you need to print from a phone or tablet, but the printer’s main advantage is still low ink costs. The slow print speeds and annoying reduction in duplex page size detracts from an otherwise serviceable all-in-one.