I just returned from sending the Kodak ESP 7 (the one on the right in the photo) back to the folks at the HP Virtual Focus Group. When all was said and done, I chose the HP C6380. Late last fall, I posted the majority of my feedback via vlogs, tweets, and blog posts. However, I just wanted to officially wrap things up a bit and share a few key points from my experience.
There are three aspects that were of utmost importance during my side-by-side comparison and determined my eventual choice. 1) Photo Quality 2)Reliability 3) Affordability.
I was consistently impressed with the HP's photo quality. If I only had seen the Kodak photos, I would say they were decent photos, printed on a decent printer. However, seeing the photos side by side, it is apparent that the HP's quality is more authentic and "truer" to the original image.
I also did a little research through the Kodak manual/website and learned that Kodak programs their printer to "enhance" and "brighten" photos using their technology. Okay, fine. If that's what you want out of your photos, then great. For me, the color was off and they were unnaturally sharp.
The ink and paper test I did, as part of my comparison pretty much sealed the deal for me and I was blown away by the results. The HP, after having been submerged in water for 1 minute, came out looking as if it had just been printed. The Kodak, not so much.
When I print photos from home, it is going to cost me more money than if I were to have them printed off at say, Costco. So, when I print from home, I want to make sure there are as few problems as possible. When the Kodak printed sub-par photos that I didn't want to give away or frame, that was money down the drain. When the Kodak printed out blank paper or half of the photo, that was money down the drain. That never happened with the HP. I could always count on the HP to print quality photos and documents every time.
Kodak's claims of $110 of savings per year on ink doesn't hold up, in my opinion. I've seen the infomercial. Cheap ink begot lesser quality photos in my experience that did not hold up under rigorous testing. I also was able to find the HP C6380 on sale for a considerable cost savings up front, as well as saving through Staples Rewards program which gives a $3 staples credit for each ink cartridge no matter the size. Why would I pay the same the amount for a lesser printer and lesser quality ink?
**Please check out my other posts and vlogs on the VP Virtual Focus Group. They give a more in depth look at my experience.