Kodak claims pretty silly speeds for all in its all-in-ones, particularly if you print in normal rather than draft mode. Its top speed is said to be 30ppm for black pages and 29ppm for colour, but our five-page text print took 1:06, a speed of 4.54ppm and the equivalent, five-page text and graphics document took 1:42, or 2.94ppm. The 20-page black text print produced the fastest print of the lot, at 5.11ppm. These speeds aren’t bad for a machine costing under £100, so it’s a shame Kodak has to over-egg the facts with these unrealistic claims.
A 15 x 10cm print from a PC took 1:08 and from an SD card, it took 58 seconds. These are good speeds for photo prints and the resulting images are also well up to scratch. There’s plenty of detail in the pictures and colours are natural, if a little dark in areas of shadow. One of the images showed some slight banding, but generally speaking they were better than adequate.
The same goes for graphics on plain paper, though there were signs of under-inking in some areas of solid colour, so the paper fibres showed through, to produce a slight speckling. A colour copy from the 1,200ppi flat-bed was reasonable, though yellow and orange shades appeared a little muddy. Black text is reasonably clean, though we noticed a couple of places where there was print displacement from one pass to the next.
Kodak claims to save you an average of £75 a year on ink, in comparison with its main rivals. This average takes into account differences in usage and doesn’t require you to be printing reams of work every day. Our calculations also show cost improvements. Using the cheapest prices we could find for the two cartridges the ESP 3250 gives costs of 2.65p for an ISO black page and 5.46p for colour, both including VAT and 0.7p for paper.
We compared this with the Canon PIXMA MP540, the Epson Stylus SX415 and the HP OfficeJet 6500.
The relative page costs range from over twice as much as the Kodak ESP 3250, to around 15 percent less. Even though the HP OfficeJet Pro 6500 comes out cheaper to run, it’s also considerably more expensive to buy, so Kodak is justified in claiming its machines run more cheaply than much of its competition.
It’s more of the same, really, with the ESP 3250. There are good and bad elements to this machine, as with the other Kodak ESPs. Print quality is fair, without being spectacular, print speeds are average, though with unrealistic claims and running costs really are cheaper than from similarly-priced alternatives. The colour LCD monitor is worth the extra £10 over the cost of the ESP 3, because of the extra convenience when selecting photos to print.
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