Dell 1250c Colour Printer review

Simon Handby
10 Apr 2011
Dell 1250c Colour Printer
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Great print quality makes the 1250c suited to personal use, but its print costs are quite high.



single-pass colour LED, 12ppm print speed, USB, 225x394x300mm

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.

Dell 1250c Colour Printer

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.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution600x600dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution600x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A412ppm
Quoted speed, colour A410ppm

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.030s
Time for two 10x8in photos 1.01m 3s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.044s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB
Optional printer interfacesnone
Noise (in normal use)48dB(A)
Duty cycle30,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight190gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity150
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity150
Duplex (code, cost if option)No


Printer technologysingle-pass colour LED
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
Standard printer memory64MB
Maximum printer memory64MB
Other laser features and optionsnone

Buying Information

Price of 2nd paper cassetteN/A
Capacity of supplied black toner700 pages
Capacity of supplied colour toners700 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s)N/A
Estimated colour TCO - three years medium£1784.40
Estimated colour TCO - three years heavy£7076.40
Warrantyone year onsite
Consumable parts and prices£66 each

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.01m 3s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.044s