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Canon i-Sensys LBP3250 review

Canon i-Sensys LBP3250
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £100
inc VAT

Despite good looks and fast print speeds, the LBP3250 fails to match the low print costs of other mono laser printers.


mono laser, 23ppm print speed, USB, 227x384x258mm

Canon’s LBP3250 mono laser printer is a compact and thoughtfully designed device. Its specification is modest – a single USB port, low noise levels and 8,000 page maximum monthly duty cycle make it a good personal laser printer for home or office use. We were impressed by small touches like a flap to provide easier access to the printer’s recessed USB port, which spared us the usual process of fumbling blindly to get the cable into position. We also liked its sleek design, with a hinged dust cover to keep the output clean when not in use. Even if you start printing with the cover closed, pages can still emerge through a narrow slit in the cover. The input tray folds out from the front of the machine.

It’s easy to set up and install, with a simple driver and just one consumable – a black toner cartridge with an integrated photoconductor drum. We were also pleased to find that the LBP3250 comes with a 1,000 page starter cartridge. Replacement 2,000 page 1871B002AA cartridges cost £49 each. This produces a page cost of 2.5p. While this isn’t significantly higher than the average price of a mono page from most similarly priced laser and inkjet printers, it doesn’t stand out when compared to the print costs of other, cheaper, mono lasers.

The printer’s Total Cost of Ownership also fails to impress. If you’re a light user, printing 100 pages a month for a total of 3,600 over three years, you can expect to spend £198 over that period. This rises to £590 for medium users printing 21,000 pages over the same three-year period.

Print speeds are among the quickest we’ve seen from a compact mono laser device, at 21.7ppm in our mono text test and 20.6ppm for our heavily illustrated greyscale business documents. Standard quality text and business illustrations were sharp, dark and solid.

Although the printer has a fixed native resolution of 600x600dpi, there are three different quality settings: Standard, Text/Lines and Web Pages, which use resolution enhancement to create an effective resolution of up to 2,400x600dpi. Text/Lines mode is designed to smooth jagged edges when producing mono prints of coloured text and line drawings.

The Web Pages setting helps to ensure optimal quality when printing graphics-heavy content like web pages, photos or illustrated documents. We used the latter for our photo printing tests. This made no difference to the speed at which our photographic images printed – 16 seconds for six images on three sheets of A4 – but produced some noticeable improvements to their quality by smoothing out areas that appeared grainy in Standard quality mode.

The LBP3250 is well designed, with great print quality, and remarkably quick print speeds for such a compact device. However, unless you’re particularly taken by its sleek design and quick printing, its running costs aren’t good enough to beat the competition. If you’re a light user with a small initial budget, Epson’s Aculaser M1200 costs less than half the price to buy, while users with heavy printing requirements should look at either Samsung’s SCX-4600 mono laser MFP or ML-2525 single-function printer.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Maximum native print resolution 600x600dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution 2,400x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 23ppm
Quoted warm-up time 0s
Quoted time to first page, mono 6s

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.0 8s
Letter, time to first page 1.0 7s
25-page mono document – total time 00:01:09
Time for 24 pages mixed greyscale 1.0 1m 10s
Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 12s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 16s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 227x384x258mm
Weight 6.8kg
Noise (in normal use) 67dB(A)
Duty cycle 8,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4
Maximum paper weight 163gsm
Standard paper inputs 1
Standard paper input capacity 250
Maximum paper inputs 1
Maximum paper input capacity 250
Output tray capacity 100 sheets
Duplex (code, cost if option) No


Printer technology mono laser
Language(s) host-based
Supported operating systems Windows 2000/XP/XP 64-bit/Vista/Vista 64-bit/7/7 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.3.9 – 10.6, Linux
Standard printer memory 8MB
Maximum printer memory 8MB
Other laser features and options 2,000 page 1871B002AA, £49

Buying Information

Price £100
Price of 2nd paper cassette n/a
Capacity of supplied black toner 1,000 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s) replaced with toner
Estimated mono TCO – three years light £198
Estimated mono TCO – three years medium £590
Estimated mono TCO – three years heavy £2746
Warranty one year RTB

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 12s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 16s