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Dell 1250c review: Dell 1250c

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The Good Excellent print quality; compact size; cheap.

The Bad No display; USB connectivity only; colour printing is expensive.

The Bottom Line The Dell 1250c colour laser printer impresses with its excellent print quality, and its small size will make it popular among those who are short on space. It's slow, though, and its running costs are relatively high.

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6.5 Overall

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At around £100, the Dell 1250c is one of the cheapest colour laser printers that you can buy. It's also very compact for a colour model and, as a result, is likely to be an attractive option for those with small home offices.

Print technology

The 1250c isn't actually a laser printer as such, because, instead of using a scanning laser, it relies on high-intensity LEDs to etch the image being printed onto the toner drum. This makes the printer cheaper to produce, as there are less moving parts. It may also help to make the printer more reliable in the long term.

Another advantage of LED technology is that it allows manufacturers to reduce the size of their printers. Indeed, the 1250c is very small for a colour model. In fact, it's not much larger than Dell's 1130 monochrome laser printer, so it'll fit comfortably on most office desks.

As with Dell's other budget printers, this one doesn't have an LCD display, but instead makes do with a number of status lights. These are used to indicate when the toner is low in each of the four cartridges, as well as draw your attention to general errors. The control panel also makes do with just two buttons -- a start button and a cancel button. Still, the printer driver includes a software control panel, so you can use that to get more information about any errors that do crop up.

Unlike most laser partners, this one doesn't have a paper tray that slots into the bottom of the machine. Instead the tray folds down and protrudes out from the bottom of the chassis when it's filled with A4 paper. This is a less elegant solution and means the printer's working footprint is slightly larger than you might expect.

Dell 1250c cartridges
The toner cartridges are hidden behind a pull-down panel on the right-hand side.

The tray accepts up to 150 sheets, which is lower than the usual capacity of 250 sheets. The results are dumped into a recessed tray at the top of the printer.

Set-up

The 1250c is a breeze to get working with your computer. As there's no Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity, you can only connect it to your PC via USB. The installation CD includes a video set-up guide, so you really can't go far wrong.

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