Dell 1250c Colour Printer review
Colour laser printers don't come much cheaper than Dell's 1250c, a basic entry-level device with just a USB port and a rudimentary 150-sheet paper tray. Strictly speaking it's not a laser printer, as LEDs are used to form the page image on the photoconductor drum. It's compact, almost lightweight, and far quieter than many of its competitors, making it easy to live with at home. It's only available directly from Dell, but shipping is free if you buy before 27 April 2011.
Although the 1250c is small, its paper tray protrudes from the front when loaded with paper, increasing its footprint on the desk. You'll need to unload plain paper to print on envelopes or other special media, but at other times a smoked plastic cover keeps dust at bay. The print driver appears very similar to the Samsung ML-1865W's, right down to the mini tabs used to select media types. In this case, though, envelopes emerge as though ironed flat, with some crumpling at the trailing end.
After our initial prints, the 1250c seemed preoccupied with some rhythmic whirring, while the driver's status monitor reported that it was warming up. We waited for this to clear before pressing on with our tests, which revealed that at 9.3ppm in mono and 8.1ppm in colour, the 1250c is particularly slow.
Fortunately, the results are worth waiting for, with photos exhibiting lively, accurate colours, plenty of detail and no evidence of banding. Our black and white print had no colour tint, either. We were equally impressed with the quality of illustrations and our PowerPoint slides, with the 1250c handling smooth progressions of shade well. Colour boundaries were generally free of jaggedness, too.
The 1250c takes four consumables, combining toner and drum for each colour, but even the high-capacity replacements aren't especially good value. The 1250c's low purchase price helps to keep ownership costs low for small amounts of printing, but they rise steeply for anyone who'll print moderate amounts. The 1250c is best seen as a personal printer for light duty. With no network port or upgrades available, it's hard to adapt it to the needs of multiple users.
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