- Review Price: £89.99
Best Budget Printer(/centre)
At first glance the ESP 3250 looks as if it’s 3,247 model numbers away from the ESP 3, but you’d be better off thinking of it as an ESP 3.250. It’s a slight facelift – and price hike – on Kodak’s entry-level all-in-one.
Following on from the ESP 3, the new machine has a similar, all-black case with an unusual concave front panel and frosted, flat top surface. Set into a panel to the right of the flatbed scanner is a simple control panel, complete with a 38mm LCD screen, the key feature distinguishing the ESP 3250 from its cheaper sibling.
The display is angled into the top surface of the machine, so it can be read from quite a wide angle, though not if you’re seated beside the all-in-one. Directly in line with the control panel, a slot in the front face of the machine takes SD and MemoryStick, but not xD cards, so you’ll need an adapter, if you want to use it to print pictures from your Fujifilm media.
Before you can use the printer, you have to load it with paper, and the feed and output trays work in an HP-like way. Fold down the centre section of the front panel and it becomes a paper tray, into which you can load plain or photo paper from 15 x 10cm up to A4 sizes. The pages then feed into the machine, making a 180-degree turn before feeding out to lie flat on top of the input paper stack. An extending paper support stops pages falling to the desk.
At the back of the machine is a single USB socket, the only way of transferring data to the ESP 3250, and a low-voltage socket for the black-block power supply, which comes with an unusually short mains lead.
Like all of Kodak’s other all-in-one printers, this one uses a simple, but well-designed print engine, where a semi-permanent head clips into the head carrier and itself carries twin ink cartridges. The first of these is pigmented black and this is accompanied by a four-colour, dye-based cartridge for graphics and photo printing.
This system is very easy to maintain and the simplicity has helped Kodak keep the consumable costs down, which is has now made its main selling point for the entire all-in-one range. Once the ink cartridges are clipped into place, the machine makes a one-off, automatic calibration print and is then ready to use.