We were originally scheduled to review Kodak's new Kodak Hero 4.2 All-In-One, but Kodak's decision to withdraw from the inkjets market means that a very capable little model will, sadly, no longer see the light of day. However, as an example of what Kodak might have been able to achieve, given time, we've taken another look at the company's Hero 7.1 instead. This model garnered considerable praise from us last year, and while it's certainly far from being best of breed, it'll continue to retain a certain charm for as long as stocks remain (Kodak will continue to sell toner and paper.) Read more inkjet printer reviews.

Not that it looks alluring, and its exterior is rather plainer than that of the ill-fated 4.2, for example, with the latter's swirl of curves. Indeed, the red line that runs around the model is the one sign of light in an otherwise rather uninspiring printer. Take a look at its feature set, though, and it starts to become rather juicier. For a start, you have that wealth of connectivity options. Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n support is pleasing, but ethernet support is provided as well. Admittedly the latter is unlikely to be of interest to home users, but those who might wish to fit this into an office environment will appreciate it. More pertinently, it can use Kodak's Pic Flick to make contact with mobile devices, and you even get Cloud support added – this was one of the pioneers in cloud printing when it first came out. See also: Group test: what's the best multifunction printer?

The Kodak has some convenient paper feeding facilities too, and the capable 100-sheet main tray is supplemented by a 40-sheet photo tray. The latter hovers above the main paper feed, and proves rather easier to load than the photo trays on many other MFPs. The Hero is also kitted out with USB and memory card slots. One area where the 7.1 remains far ahead of the newer 4.2 is in its touchscreen display. Whereas the 4.2 had been saddled with a small inflexible display that suffered from horrendous viewing angles, the 7.1 comes with a large and breezy 3.5in LCD that walks you through its many functions. We found it a very pleasant model to use without a PC attached.

The Kodak isn't the cheapest printer to buy in store, but it is much the cheapest to run and should over its lifetime save you a pretty packet. Indeed it is the loss of running costs such as those enjoyed by the Hero that make us lament the loss of Kodak as a printer maker. Just 1.7p for a page of black and a miserly 3p for colour is some going.

The Kodak isn't a special performer. It was consistently slower than many recent models. 11.4ppm at its fastest, it'll need to drop down to the middle 9.3ppm mode before you can get solid text. Even here, the output is legible rather than crisp. It's a very capable performer on graphics, producing colourful results in the middle 2.9ppm mode – again slower than many of its contemporaries. Photo paper brings out its best side, but it lacks the sparkling imaging of the Canon MX895. The scanning component is a success, with faithful results and good colours. The speeds are adequate.

NEXT PAGE: our original review of the Hero 7.1, from October 2011 >>

PC Advisor AwardsThe Hero range of all-in-one printers all benefit from built in Wi-Fi and low running costs.  They all make great colour and monochrome prints. Still, the Hero 7.1 distinguishes itself from its cousins in key areas that make it great for home photo printing.

At the same price point as the Office Hero 6.1, the Hero 7.1 has the good looks and styling of its siblings. The modern combo of black, red and chrome is a cut above the usual, generic looks we see in lots of printers. It’s a little bigger too - but at 7.5 Kg not so heavy it can’t be moved if necessary.

All the Heros have connectivity features that make printing photographs easy. From Wi-Fi enabled Google Cloud Printing support to dual USB ports (one front and back). PictBridge technology enables you to plug your camera straight in and print.  If that’s not enough, you can send documents and images from a mobile device using Kodak’s free Pic Flick app. With more and more smart phones, like the iPhone 4S, shipping with high resolution cameras, this has to be one of our favourite features.

The Hero 7.1 has two visible advantages that make it good for photographers - or anyone who wants to print from their digital camera. The first is a larger LCD screen for viewing and selecting images. Mounted on the front of the machine, at 3.5 inches it’s a full inch above the spec of the 5.1. What’s more, it’s a touchscreen, enabling you to tap through and find images to print without the need to connect to a computer.

The prints themselves are of the high quality we’ve come to expect from the Hero series, with the same 9600 dpi resolution for colour. Like it’s cousins, printing is also a little on the slow side. A plus for photo fans though, there’s a separate tray where your glossy 4x6 snaps are delivered.

Printing’s just one part of the equation. If you need to scan in old, analogue photos you’re well catered for. The 2400 dpi scanner is great for picking up the detail in all your old images. They’ll be perfect for retouching and reprinting. And, of course, it handles home office chores like document printing and copying effortlessly - though the scanner lid may struggle with anything thicker than a few sheets of paper.

Standard colour documents print crisply with solid, flat colour and photocopying is fast and easy. It’s a great little all-rounder, that just happens to be brilliant photo-printer.

Kodak Hero 7.1

Kodak Hero 7.1 wins PC Advisor Award for Best Printer of 2012

An all-in-one that’s aimed at photographers, the Kodak Hero 7.1 is a credible and well-rounded package. All models in the Hero range benefit from built-in Wi-Fi and extremely low running costs, but we think the 7.1 is the best option for home photo printing. It’s better than many dedicated photo printers we’ve tried, and will save you space and money to boot. If photographs are important to you, this all-in-one is the printer you need to pick, and it won’t cost you a fortune to run. Read more...

Kodak Hero 7.1: Specs

  • Inkjet Multifunction Scan/Copy
  • Number of Colours: 4
  • Maximum sheet capacity with standard tray 100 sheets
  • 40 sheets in photo tray
  • Standard Number of Input Trays 2
  • LCD Type: Colour
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Interfaces: WiFi, USB, PictBridge, USB thumb drive, Wi-Fi, SD, SDHC, MMC, MS, PRO
  • Dimensions: 17.5 × 17.0 × 7.5 in
  • Weight: 7.5 kgs
  • Monochrome print speed 8.5 ppm
  • Colour print speed 5.5 ppm
  • Colour 4x6 photo speed 28 seconds
  • Scanner Type: Flatbed
  • Maximum Scan Size: 216 × 356 mm (Legal)
  • Horizontal Optical Scan Resolution 2400
  • Vertical Optical Scan Resolution 2400
  • Inkjet Multifunction Scan/Copy
  • Number of Colours: 4
  • Maximum sheet capacity with standard tray 100 sheets
  • 40 sheets in photo tray
  • Standard Number of Input Trays 2
  • LCD Type: Colour
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Interfaces: WiFi, USB, PictBridge, USB thumb drive, Wi-Fi, SD, SDHC, MMC, MS, PRO
  • Dimensions: 17.5 × 17.0 × 7.5 in
  • Weight: 7.5 kgs
  • Monochrome print speed 8.5 ppm
  • Colour print speed 5.5 ppm
  • Colour 4x6 photo speed 28 seconds
  • Scanner Type: Flatbed
  • Maximum Scan Size: 216 × 356 mm (Legal)
  • Horizontal Optical Scan Resolution 2400
  • Vertical Optical Scan Resolution 2400

OUR VERDICT

Like many of the Kodaks, the Hero 7.1 has stunning running costs. Overall though, it’s an MFP that gets close, but without quite making it. The all-round features and performance are decent, but no more than that.

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