Kodak Office Hero 6.1 All-In-One Printer review
This inkjet multifunction peripheral (MFP) is one of the four models that together make up Kodak's new Hero range. While the other three are general-purpose devices, the Office Hero 6.1 is aimed specifically at micro offices that need one device to print, scan, copy and fax. It's not the cheapest office MFP, but it's fairly well specified, with automatic duplex (double-sided) printing, wired and wireless network connections and a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF) for multi-page copies or faxes.
The Office Hero 6.1 is hardly stylish, but it's an interesting asymmetric shape, with a racy red stripe rather than the more typical Kodak orange. It's made from matt black plastic, with a gloss black control panel punctuated by silver buttons and a 6.1cm colour screen. The menu is easy to use, but we quickly turned off the beep that accompanied each keypress.
Despite opting to download the latest drivers during the installation, we got off to a shaky start. At first the printer seemed reluctant to deliver our 25-page draft text test; spitting out only a single blank page on its first attempt. The driver status panel spent more than a minute telling us it was spooling the second attempt before finally coaxing the printer into life; only on our third attempt did the printer start the job promptly and finish without problems.
Our other print tests completed without a hitch and at fairly average speeds, but the results were a little disappointing. Black text was acceptable, if very slightly jagged, but colour prints on plain paper lacked the vibrancy we'd expect from a good inkjet – we've seen better from other Kodak printers. Photographs were also quite underwhelming and wouldn't print without borders.
Our photocopying tests didn't begin too promisingly, either. With a 10-page colour document loaded in the ADF we hit the colour start button and waited while several pages were drawn through the scanner, but none emerged from the printer. After a while the scanning stopped, and the MFP helpfully suggested we disabled the default 'collate' option before retrying. Although this fixed the problem, colour copies had very poor colour accuracy, with blues in particular being blackened and darkened.
While Kodak's TWAIN scan interface isn't as good as Canon, Epson or Brother's, it did at least work smoothly right from the beginning. Scans were reasonably quick, particularly at low resolutions, and the results were sharply focused. Photographs had good colour accuracy with just a slight loss of detail in the very darkest shades, but documents were disappointingly dark with sombre colours.
Despite the hitches we experienced this is a reasonably competent MFP, but many rivals produce better results. As with other Kodak inkjets we've reviewed, low ink costs make the Office Hero 6.1 incredibly cheap to run, but some other manufacturers are closing the gap. If you can live without wireless networking, HP Officejet 6500A is better value, while the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4535 DWF is a far better bet for anyone with a larger budget. Both have similarly low running costs.
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