The War of the Printers - The Results!

I've been doing a 5 week trial with HP and a Kodak photo printer. Here are the models I tested. (Kodak, left - HP right)

HP contacted me to see if I'd be willing to put their latest photo printer to the test and let them know what I thought of it, against another leading model. I'd get to keep my favourite at the end, so I've thrown loads of tasks at both printers over the weeks to see which I prefer. At one stage I was leaning toward a particular printer as my favourite, but this all changed at the last minute when on Mother's Day 2011 I just wanted a lie down through sheer exhaustion and one of the printers really pulled through for me and enabled me to do just that! Intrigued? Then read on!

HP Vs Kodak
First impressions: The Kodak one was attractive looking - it reminded me of a music system in its appearance!
The HP one came with its own bag- I doubt I'll be carrying it around very much but it was a nice touch!
Verdict? Kodak wins on appearance

Installation: I installed the HP one first and it had step by step instructions. The print cartridges came with their own 'shopping card' to put in your purse which was a useful extra- making it much easier to purchase new cartridges whilst you are out. The printer pretty much installed itself. I did what the on screen prompts said and it sorted itself out. Just as I like it!

The Kodak was also easy to set up with step by step instructions but it was more difficult from a 'hardware' point of view. I didn't like having to install the printer cradle myself and it wasn't easy to get off the orange bits that were there to help everything stay intact in transit. This printer was a bit more laborious to install and I prefer hassle free!
Verdict? HP wins on installation!

Fitting in with my Systems:I wanted to see how the new printers slotted in to my existing systems, so I was disappointed that the HP printer installation had left 5 shortcut icons on my desktop which I had to put into their own folder to keep things tidy.
The Kodak printer only left 1 shortcut icon on the desktop and I prefer an uncluttered desktop!
Both printers have a 'standby' feature which means you can leave them on in a low power state so that when you are ready to print, they are ready for action. I work from all over the house- sofa, bedroom, kitchen table, even my car as well as the office, and so it's great to be able to print from any of these locations via my wireless connection. Printers have come such a long way in the last few years and these models are both very sophisticated compared to my old rusty printer which only does one thing!!

General Use Both printers were excellent on the 'everyday printing' - things like printing emails or invoices, printing out kids homework, letters and other traditional 'ink on paper' formats. The first time I tried to print photos, the HP got a paper jam in the photo tray which made me worry that I'd done something wrong but I think the jam was because the paper trays had been brushed past when someone walked by the printers and the trays gotten dislodged. With the Kodak printer, the paper tray is moulded into the whole design of the box so it's impossible to dislodge the tray - I liked this better for my busy household!

Photo Printing:I preferred the Kodak on photos at first, the prints seemed glossier and dried quicker, but then HP told me I was using the wrong kind of HP paper for my prints. When they sent me some advanced photo paper it all just got easier and the print quality was great. When the pictures got wet, the Kodak paper wilted whereas the HP pictures stayed strong, so they were more hard wearing!

Wishlist:A feature I'd like to see on these printers in future is a way of storing the printed papers neatly until I go to my printer to collect them. Currently on both printers the papers print then fall onto the floor (the desktop I have them on is a small desk, only big enough to hold the machines, so the papers come out of the printer and drop!) It is old fashioned to think that the printer will always be used next to the working area - I work from everywhere but at some stage I'll have to go to the printer to collect the work. If it was a long document that printed, it could be all out of order by the time I've picked it off the floor.

Economy:The HP printer goes into standby mode a lot sooner than the Kodak which can be a blessing from a power saving point of view. The HP also had individual ink cartridges which are more cost effective than the Kodak's bulk ink cartridge which may mean replacing the whole unit before each colour is completely used. However the Kodak advertising on TV says that its printer has the lowest priced cartridges so ongoing ink costs would be lower.
My verdict: it's a tie on economy!

Overall:I'm glad to have taken part in this task, as I've discovered a lot more about both printers capabilities than I would have done if I'd chosen them myself at the store - taken home and installed. Thom from HP - the 'techy' guy who set us the assignments, gave me a task to do each week to try out what the printers were really capable of, and through these tasks I learned that I can print without my computer (from a memory card or USB stick) and I can even crop pictures and remove redeye directly from the printer! I would never have known this!

The Twist!:
Towards the end of the trial the Kodak was my favourite. It was easy to control and make do what I needed it to do and I liked the look of it. The HP didn't make it easy for me to scroll through my pictures - the touch screen was not very sensitive to touch or at times, too sensitive! I got frustrated a few times when I was trying to scroll to a particular photo so I could print it and the touch screen let the one I wanted whizz by before my eyes and not stop where I wanted it to!
At the end of the trial I told Thom that I wanted to keep the Kodak..... Then Mother's Day happened!

I'd had a busy weekend and wanted to have a sit on the sofa in peace but the kids were bored and wanted to do something. I didn't have the energy to play games and I wanted the TV on my channel and not Disney, so I told my 8YO to load up the HP printer and print off some templates for her and her brother to colour in!

The HP comes with apps in the printer for Disney, Crayola and other child friendly names, with ready made templates for colouring! The kids can scroll to what they want and print directly from the printer without having to load up the computer and send something to print from there. The Kodak doesn't do this- to get colouring templates you have to find them on the web and send them to print from your computer, so the HP definitely won here on ease. It was literally child's play to use the machine in this way!

The other thing that I loved about the HP was the ePrint capability. This meant that the printer has its own email address so you can be away from the printer and send a document to print by emailing it so that it is waiting for you when you get back. This is a fantastic time saving tool and as a busy mum, a lifesaver for me! The Kodak didn't have this feature, so I ended up telling Thom that I had changed my mind! The HP was the best for me, running a busy household and having the technology to cope with what my kids and I could demand from it.

Thanks HP for my gorgeous new printer. Even though I preferred the other one at first, the HP has won me over!

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