Kodak Hero 9.1 review

Can this cheap-to-run touchscreen printer challenge its rivals on quality?

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Kodak hero 9 1 review

The Kodak Hero 9.1 uses two ink tanks. A single-ink cartridge supplies pigmented black, which is ideal for printing text, and its colour cartridge holds five pigmented inks. Having all its colour inks in a single cartridge isn't ideal, because you have to replace the whole thing when just one of its tanks is empty, but the amount of ink wasted is usually small.

Kodak claims its premium pigmented inks won't fade over time like the dye-based inks used by its rivals, and should last around 120 years.

Setting the Kodak Hero 9.1 up is easy enough. Despite a few teething troubles, we soon got the printer up and running. You can connect it directly to your computer through USB, but some of its best features are only available when it's on your home internet network, through an Ethernet link or Wi-Fi connection.

Kodak hero 9 1 review

Like the rest of the Kodak Hero range, the 9.1 model is Google Cloud Print-ready, and also has Kodak Email Printing enabled. After connecting your printer to your network and registering it online, it's given a unique email address. You can then print documents such as Microsoft Office files, PDFs, images and text by emailing them to this address from any internet-enabled device, regardless of whether it's on the same network as your printer.

If your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet is on the same network as the Kodak Hero 9.1, you can print from it directly using Kodak's free Pic Flick app. The range is not yet AirPrint-enabled, but Kodak hopes to add this feature at a later date.

The printer has automatic Duplex, so you can print on both sides of the paper without having to manually reload the sheets after the first page.

When printing photos, it automatically recognises when you're using photo paper, and adjusts the print quality accordingly.

Kodak hero 9 1 review

It's PictBridge-compatible, and you can print images from USB sticks and memory cards without using your computer. Obviously, the 4.3-inch colour touchscreen is a great asset when doing this.

The Kodak All-in-One (AiO) Home Center application also has a fun - if gimmicky - facility for taking and printing 3D images for viewing with the cardboard glasses bundled with the printer, but it only works with Windows PCs.

The Kodak Hero 9.1 can't print on optical discs, and it doesn't have downloadable applications like those enjoyed by the Lexmark Genesis S815 and recent HP printers, but it does have facilities for printing simple forms such as music paper, graph paper, shopping lists and more.

Connect it to a telephone socket and it can send and receive faxes, both from the device itself and directly from your computer.

Photo printing is very good. Our professional A4 PhotoDisc image printed with crisp, clear colours, sharp detail and smooth gradient ramps. We have no cause for complaints here at all.

Kodak hero 9 1 review

Unfortunately though, plain paper image printing is terrible, with dull, lifeless colours and noticeable speckling. Images that dominate the page can make the paper curl.

Its pigmented black ink makes for clear, vivid text printing, although it's not as vibrant as a Canon or HP printer's text output.

Although far from fast, the Kodak Hero 9.1 offers acceptable speeds. Our 20-page test document printed in five minutes, 27.6 seconds, which is too pedestrian for serious office use, but acceptable for home printing.

Scanning quality is excellent, although the scanner's a little noisy. You can scan directly from the printer at the push of a button, or for more options, use the bundled scanning application.