Setting up the 1250c
As one might imagine, setting up the budget friendly 1250c was fairly straight forward and Dell included both a hard copy setup guide as well as the Easy Setup Navigator, found on the provided CD.
The basic setup was as follows: unpack and insert provided driver CD. Here, users can choose to follow the guided setup or just install the print driver and software. I personally chose to skip the guided setup since the hard copy provided plenty of detail on how to connect the printer, turn on the printer and load paper (the toner cartridges are already installed).
It took about 15 minutes to get the 1250c up and running from the box to my desk.
Ease of use
Due to the lack of any display on the 1250c, navigation proves to be difficult. But the 1250c wasn’t designed as a standalone device; it is first and foremost a desktop printer connected via a USB 2.0 connection directly to the user’s computer.
And exactly because the 1250c is simply a printer, there is limited software to be downloaded (always a plus on maxed out computers). What users will find are the Dell Toolbox, Dell Status Monitor, Quick Launch Utility and the Dell Supplies Management system.
The Quick Launch Utility launches at startup (although that can be adjusted) and includes quick links to the status monitor, tool box, software updates, troubleshooting and settings.
The Dell Status Monitor gives real time print information and estimated toner levels. Users can also view the printer’s queue and the 1250c’s User Guide.
The Dell Toolbox is a bit more useful with easy access to print settings, print maintenance and diagnosis checks. For instance, using the toolbox, users’ can adjust the power saver mode, select the use of non-Dell toner, adjust fuser settings or reset defaults among others.
The Dell Supplies Management System is pretty self explanatory; it allows customers to order replacement consumables online or by phone by printer model.
Users can always adjust print settings using the print properties menu.
Print speed and quality tests
The 1250c boasts print speeds up to 12 ppm in black and 10 ppm in color, but when we performed our print speed tests, we found no noticeable difference between the black and white print speeds, mixed print speeds and strictly color print speeds. In fact, the 1250c was incredibly even-keeled with a first page out in 14 seconds nearly every time and print speeds consistently around 11 ppm, slightly slower than advertised for black prints but slightly faster for color prints.
The only time during our testing that I found different print speeds was when the 1250c was coming out of power save mode and the first page out was closer to 28 seconds, which resulted in slightly slower print speeds at first. However, the overall print speeds for those jobs were still very close to 11 ppm when averaged out.
Quality wise, the 1250c does an excellent job as far as laser-class printers go. For $229.99, users get solid black text with a low cost per page as well as great color images. The nice thing about laser-class products is you can print full color images on cheap copy paper and still get a quality image, something that’s nearly impossible with inkjet printers since the ink bleeds into the paper.
The 1250c would be excellent at printing both small amounts of color mixed into black and white text documents and printing colorful PowerPoint presentations, brochures etc. Obviously, you won’t get the glossy “photo” images but you will get a lower cost per page then you’ll find on most inkjets.
This is especially true if you factor in that Dell designed the drum and fuser unit to last the lifetime of the 1250c, so it cuts down consumables.