Given that so many printer makers still insist on quitting outlandish draft print speeds, we've decided to add a five-page draft document to our test suite. Kodak claims speeds of 32ppm in black and 30ppm in colour. Our draft mode document took 37 seconds to complete, giving a real-world draft speed of 8.1ppm, around a quarter of that claimed.
In normal print mode, we saw 4ppm from our 5-page text document and 4.8ppm from the 20-page one. The five-page text and colour graphics test returned 2.9ppm. These speeds are fairly sluggish for a modern all-in-one at this price, but the photo print times were some compensation. We printed 15 x 10cm images from PC, SD card, PictBridge camera and USB drive and saw a fastest time of just 38 seconds.
The prints we produced were good, with plenty of sharp, bright detail, good natural colours and smooth transitions. The only place the ESP 7250 let itself down was in reproducing shadowed detail, where much too much came out black.
Colour print on plain paper is smooth and although colours can be a little paler than originals, even colour copies come through clearly and close to the originals. There's a small amount of haloing around text on coloured backgrounds, but it’s only superficial.
Black text is clean and well developed and draft mode text is a good deal better than the dot-matrix-style characters that many inkjets still provide.
Perhaps the most bizarre result from our printer tests was when we came to the duplex print. An automatic duplexer is fitted as standard, but when you select two-sided print in the driver, the page size is reduced by around 7.5 per cent. Text and graphics are all reduced in size, taking little regard of the settings in your word processor. This happened under both OS X and Windows, using different drivers.
Kodak claims a lot for its low running costs and this is borne out from our calculations. We calculate a black page cost of 2.1p and a colour page cost of 4.4p, both including 0.7p the paper. These are low, even for inkjets, where, contrary to popular belief, the cost of printing a page is often lower than from an equivalent laser printer.
In general, the Kodak ESP 7250 delivers good print quality at low cost, in an easy and well-automated way. It's not a particularly quick machine, though, and the strange size reduction when you select duplex print is something that either needs correcting or, if it was our setup error, more detailed explanation in the printer’s manual.