Now, here's a curious situation. The Hero 2.2 was supposed to be a new addition to Kodak's range of home printers. Marketed as an all-in-one printer, it would have delivered on that promise with support for photocopying, scanning and faxing. See also Group test: What's the best inkjet printer?
We've been testing a production model for a couple of weeks alongside the Hero 4.2, another new entry mooted for the range. Then, late in September, just as we were about to submit our review, Kodak announced that they were pulling out of the printer market. Completely. You can read the full Kodak announcement about stopping selling printers here.
Although Kodak will continue to sell papers and ink, the Hero and ESP ranges will be retired. You won't find the Hero 4.2 or 2.2 in any shops.
It's a pity when you consider that Kodak was the only manufacturer on the market using low running costs as its unique selling point. Every other manufacturer was discounting hardware to sell ink and paper. Lots of it.
Both printers were solid and impressive devices. Like its stablemate the 4.2, the prototype 2.2 we tested had a built in screen for viewing and selecting images. However, this version lacked touchscreen capability and relied instead on a series of physical buttons. In our tests we found that we actually preferred this arrangement. The 4.2's screen was a little small for touchscreen operation.
Apart from that, the 2.2 was virtually identical to the the 4.2 - with the same casing (very square and robust, we might add) and the same styling. So, the 4.2's strengths were the 2.2's strengths. These included Google Cloud Printing, which made the Hero 2.2 accessible from anywhere on the ‘net.
The mobile device support we mentioned earlier used two free apps from Kodak. The first, Pic Flick, is a fun, innovative program that lets you swipe photos towards your networked printer. Most mobile platforms are supported, including iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
The more serious Document Printer, did the same office documents. Use WiFi, though, and the Hero 2.2 would turn up as one of the printing options when printing from a mobile app.
The 2.2 also shared the Hero 4.2's weaknesses. Print speed was a common complaint with all of Kodak's printers. That was offset by lower running costs and fast drying pigment ink. The company claimed you'd make huge savings across the lifetime of the printer - spending 10 times less than on rival manufacturer's consumables.
This also accounted for the fact that Kodak printers cost a little more up-front. Perhaps that's where the problem was.