Kodak's Hero range of all-in-one printers is known for low running costs, great connectivity and lab quality photo prints at home. The 4.2 is part of a refreshed range, with the same styling as last year's black, red and chrome Hero series - including the Kodak Hero 5.1, the closest in spec to this new entry. See also Group test: What's the best inkjet printer?
Unfortunately, as we were putting the finishing touches to this review Kodak announced that it would no longer be selling printers, including the Hero 4.2 all-in-one printer (and its putative sister the Kodak Hero 2.2) which will now be mothballed. You can read the full Kodak announcement about stopping selling printers here.
An integrated LCD touchscreen for viewing and selecting images is slotted into the curved surface of the 4.2. At 2.4 inches, there's not much screen to touch, but the colour display is clear enough to select images from a number of sources, including USB, PictBridge and the various configurations of SD card.
Google Cloud Printing was new technology when it debuted in the Hero series last year. Google's service enables you to print to the Hero 4.2 on your LAN from anywhere on the Internet. Many users will find the touchscreen we mentioned a moment ago fairly redundant, with continued support for mobile device printing using Kodak's free Pic Flick HD app. You really do simply flick an image toward your printer - from your iPhone, Android device or tablet - for instant hard copies. Well, we say instant. We mean around 38 seconds for a colour photo. For legacy network situations, the printer comes bundled with an Ethernet adaptor.
A companion app, Document Printer, does the same thing for reports, letters and emails. Print from any supported device and the quick drying, pigment based ink enables you to grab the results and take them straight to your meeting.
As for document speed, Kodak's Hero series was never first to the tape in that race. The Hero's USP is quality and cost effectiveness. Still, the Hero 4.2 shaves a few seconds off previous black and white benchmarks, with 8.5 ipm (versus the 8 ppm of the hero 5.1) for black and white. Colour takes a little longer, at 5.8 ipm.
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.
We've focused on printing, but the Hero 4.2 is an All-in-One. The label fits well in this case, with both backwards compatibility and forward thinking. So, photocopies benefit from a 25 sheet automatic sheer feeder. The flat bed scanner is fast and easy to use, thanks to Kodak's all-in-one software - though probably more suited to office than heavy duty imaging tasks.
With fax capabilities built in (you connect the Hero 4.2 direct to your phone line) there are few office document task you can't achieve.