Kodak EasyShare 5300 All-in-One Printer, Scanner, Copier Review
The Kodak EasyShare 5300 is the mid-line product for Kodak in the all-in-one printer-scanner-copier product category. This device offers some unique features not found in other all-in-one products on the market such as a dedicated slide-out photo paper tray and a six-ink print system. But first, my overall impression. The 5300 looks friendly and works quite well – once set up properly. This device is well-suited for the home office where a basic variety of printing and document copying and scanning is required. For the typical consumer tired of dealing with the complexity and clutter of separate printing, scanning, and copying devices, the EasyShare 5300 offers an effective solution. By offering low-cost, larger volume replacement ink cartridges, Kodak will also appeal to consumers jaded by frequent, inconvenient, and expensive ink cartridge replacements.
Out of the box the 5300 looks like most other all-in-one devices, except that it is predominantly white and grey. All controls and a three inch screen are on the top right control panel with memory card slots and USB ports on the front. The copier and scanner are top-mounted with a hinged lid that also telescopes out from the device. This allows up to one inch thick documents or books to be scanned with the copier lid still flat to the scanner bed. The paper tray is front-mounted, and has a dedicated 4×6 photo paper tray that must be manually slid into the body of the printer in order to be registered by the printer as a print tray. Overall the 5300 feels solidly constructed, though the control buttons are squishy and must be firmly pressed.
The only difficulties I had with the product were during software installation, and these were remedied without major difficulty. Software will be discussed in more detail shortly. In addition to set-up, this all-in-one does have a few limitations. First, there is no wireless connectivity built-in, either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. With the popularity of wireless networking this may be a turn-off for some consumers, particularly those who use laptop computers or those who print from more than one computer in their home or small office.
The 4×6 printer cartridge, while a good solution for occasional dedicated photo printing, creates the likelihood of operator error. Imagine dad’s spreadsheets on 4×6 glossy photo cards as he’s trying to rush out the door on a Monday morning.
Before I go any further, let me review the basics. In the box I found the following:
Quick Start instructions
EasyShare 5300 all-in-one printer
Black ink cartridge
Color ink cartridge
10 sheets of Kodak 4X6 photo paper
10 sheets of Kodak 8.5X10 bright white paper
This is what was NOT in the Box:
Firewire/USB cable to connect to a computer
Optional USB bluetooth wireless adapter
Detailed operation manual
The USB cable to connect to your computer must be purchased separately. If I hadn’t purchased a new computer recently I would not have coincidentally had the right cable, and would not have been able to use this printer out of the box. That is an unnecessary hassle for a product meant to be Easy. Kodak should know better. And the detailed set-up manual shouldn’t be overlooked, even though the 5300 is generally intuitive. for those who need the manual it is available on Kodak’s website.
I’ll review some of the features of the 5300 next. This all-in-one offers all that would be asked of it by the typical user.
The Scan Menu offers the following options:
Scanning options are best configured from the Kodak software on your computer. Navigating the on-board printer menus can be challenging and slow, but is quick and easy via the software. The software interacts well with other software such as Photoshop, allowing quick and easy TWAIN scan importing.
The scanner produces high quality scans up to 1200 DPI and 8.5X11.7 (A4 paper length). Standard scan resolution default is set to 300DPI, which is fine for typical image scanning, and perhaps overkill for most black and white documents. Scanning an 8.5×11 color document with default 300 DPI settings took roughly 15 seconds in my tests. It is worth adjusting the default options to optimize your scanning preferences. Scan options include saving as JPG, TIFF, and BMP. You can also make basic adjustments to brightness, contrast, red-eye reduction, and other image characteristics from the device software. Additionally, you may save the scanned image to a memory card, to your computer, or open it directly in a software application you choose, which worked properly in my testing on both Mac and PC for basic image viewing applications such as OS X Preview, as well as Photoshop 7.0 and Photoshop CS3.
In contrast to the Scan function, the Copy function caused some problems. Without connecting the computer, I attempted to copy a document via the on-board menus to simulate stand-alone basic office functionality. Within the Copy menu, pressing “Start” button to make a copy froze the printer. The printer rebooted itself a moment later. Another time while copying a document the 5300 printed three quarters of the copied document before ejecting the printout and returning a “Fatal Printer Error. Call Service. Error Code 3809.” This caused the printer to freeze up and prevented the printer from being turned off. A hard restart of the printer was successful, but I encountered the same error when attempting to copy a document a second time. This problem was resolved once the included software was installed on my computer and the device was managed from my computer. This was resolved easily, but I was surprised that the device did not work as a stand-alone device for this basic task.
The Copy Menu includes the following features:
1 to 99
Fit to Page
2, 3, 4, 9 per page
2×2, 3×3, 4×4 poster
-3 to +3
This is a minor annoyance, but there is no loop scrolling on the on-board menus. Once at the bottom of the menu you cannot continue down and ‘loop’ back to the top of the menu. You have to go backwards up to the top. In general, the on-board menus are not the easiest to use, unfortunately typical for most all-in-one devices. The good news is the computer control panel works well and is much more intuitive.
Printing produced good results. Images were crisp, and colors bright. The print cartridges include one black cartridge and one color cartridge that includes CMYK reservoirs as well as a black and clear sealant cartridge for photos. Ink cartridges are one of the selling points of the EasyShare 5300. Kodak has designed inexpensive ink cartridges with larger capacity reservoirs to reduce the operating costs of the device. This should appeal to many consumers, especially those who already have a printer that slurps costly ink cartridges like an SUV consumes premium gasoline.
Now to the software. First, the software for Mac:
Do not install the product software from the enclosed CD-ROM! Mac Software Installation requires OS X v.10.4.8 or later, and automatically cancels installation if it does not auto-detect the correct version. In spite of this auto-detect, the software did not function on my computer running OS X 10.4.10, so the installation aborted. Customer service will tell you to download the software from their website at http://www.kodak.com/go/EasySharesw. While generally I avoid installing potentially outdated software from CD when current versions are available online, I am always confused when the software supplied with the device does not work. Maybe someday they will realize they should do away with outdated CD-ROMs all together.
Now onto the software for PC:
Wait! Don’t throw out that outdated CD-ROM yet. Windows Hardware Installer cannot locate the required drivers, and the PC software downloaded from the internet does not execute properly. You need to install the printer’s components from the CD-ROM after all. If for some reason you do not have the .NET framework installed, it will be installed at this time, which takes a while. Go have a cup of coffee and come back.
Software installation requires 206 MB of hard drive space, which seems typical for many all-in-one software packages, yet seems bloated for what it actually does.
The print queue can be managed through the printer software. In my testing, this worked well. I was able to promptly cancel print jobs, including those that had frozen or were not yet printing. I was also able to shuffle print jobs and move newer jobs to the top for print priority.
Here are a few items to be aware of. The 4×6 printer paper tray needs to be manually pushed into the printer bay to enable it as a print tray. Once inserted, it becomes the default tray and a green light illuminates. Pushing and retrieving the tray is cumbersome because it is small and flat and lies deep within the printer bay. And without extreme diligence, you’re almost certain to have the tray pushed in when you don’t intend to, and print on the wrong paper. You should also be aware when printing from other applications such as Photoshop to select the correct printer paper size and Print Preview to avoid mis-prints. With that caution, I had no problems printing from non-Kodak applications.
Another caveat; you cannot have more than one memory card inserted at one time or the printer will return a “too many memory cards” error and ask you to remove one. you also cannot control the printer from the USB ports in the front of the device. Your computer must be connected to the Firewire port above the power supply in the rear to control the EasyShare 5300.
This may seem minor, but this device is not Energy Star compliant. The Sleep and Shut Down delay can however be set to power the printer down when not in use. The default is one hour, but should be manually set to a much shorter time interval. Start-up time for the printer is 35 seconds, so lost productivity during start-up shouldn’t be a concern.
And finally, Customer Service. Customer Service online chat is listed online as being available Saturday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST. When I visited the site on a Saturday afternoon, the “Chat with Kodak” was disabled because “all agents are busy helping other customers”. A call to customer service at 1-800-421-6699 pleasantly brought me to a live person almost immediately.
To wrap things up, the Kodak EasyShare 5300 all-in-one is an effective purpose-built device. It should meet the needs of many typical small home offices by combining quality document and photo printing with a scanner and copier in one device. While the software and stand-alone operation had a few hiccups, the overall setup and operation was straight-forward and intuitive. The device could benefit from including a cable in the box to connect to a computer, especially since the copy function doesn’t seem to work reliably without a computer attached. Wireless connectivity is another offering that is a logical improvement, especially since connectivity via a Bluetooth USB key is suggested in the product literature. The inexpensive Bluetooth device could have easily been built into the 5300 in the first place. In spite of these minor detractions, the EasyShare 5300 will be an productive and cost-effective addition to many homes and small offices.
Front View of Kodak EasyShare 5300:
Top View of Kodak EasyShare 5300:
Under the hood of the Kodak EasyShare 5300:
Ports and removable media ports of the Kodak EasyShare 5300:
Ink cartridges of the Kodak EasyShare 5300: