The $100 ESP 3.2 is Kodak's beginner's multifunction device that can print, scan, fax, and copy, but a week of testing is all I need to give it a thumbs down. I'm especially disappointed that this entry-level device still suffers the same mechanical design issues of legacy models like the Kodak ESP 5. Despite its multiple connectivity options (including cloud printing), it's a tough sell against the Epson Stylus NX430 that offers more versatile features in a much sexier package.
Design and features
"Small-in-Ones" notwithstanding, the ESP 3.2 still has a compact footprint relative to other multifunction printers at 16.5 inch wide, 12.4 inches deep, and 7 inches tall. Its multifunction moniker means it prints, scans, and copies, but you don't get an auto-document feeder so you have to endure scanning large stacks of documents or snapshot photos on a sheet-by-sheet basis. The Epson NX430 doesn't have one either, but the $80 Canon Pixma MX372 does if that's a purchase priority for you.
The paper output tray sits flush within the unit and folds down with an extendable plastic arm that pulls out of the edge to corral sheets of paper as it completes each job. On the whole, the printer is made of a light plastic that reminds me of a Playskool toy and gives the device a flimsy and delicate feel.
The ESP 3.2 retains the standard-size ink cartridge bay: one slot for black and another for color. This setup is common for printers in the low-end price range, and the Kodak Web site reports yield prices on par with the average inkjet printer. Additionally, the company also sells extra-large cartridge capacities that cost slightly more up front, but save you money in the long term.
Kodak keeps the rest of the buttons on the control panel to a minimum, with virtual buttons on the side for power, cancel, navigation, and start. Just below the buttons you'll find a multimedia card reader for Memory Stick, SD, and MMC, but the printer lacks a USB port for printing directly from a digital camera.
By contrast, the Canon Pixma MX372 offers the additional benefit of a fax machine and a host of buttons on the front including auto-dial buttons and a full set of numerical buttons for dialing. While the Canon's two-line dot matrix display isn't quite as fancy as the Kodak's color LCD, I see no added benefit to a full-color LCD on a printer that isn't designed to print a large volume of photos anyway.
The ESP 3.2 is also accessible on the run using the free Kodak Pic Flick App for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry device. Though the app doesn't offer the opportunity for heavy photo editing, you can specify the print quality and canvas size from 2 inches by 3 inches all the way up to the standard 8.5 inches by 11 inches.