Kodak's ESP 5250 is a compact all-in-one printer that includes scanning and copying features, as well as integrated Wi-Fi. Kodak also claims that it's one of the cheapest inkjet printers around in terms of running costs. You can pick it up for about £70.
Gloss over it
The 5250's body is made entirely from plastic, with a slightly textured, dotted pattern used on the lid, and glossy highlighting on the front and top control panel. There's also a flash of yellow -- Kodak's corporate colour -- used on the edge of the scanner lid.
The right-hand side of the top of the printer is home to a flip-up, 2.4-inch colour screen along with the various buttons to help you navigate through the easy-to-use menus. The printer's card reader supports SD and Memory Stick media, but it doesn't have a PictBridge-compatible USB port for directly attaching a camera -- something found on some other models in the Kodak range.
The 5250 can be connected to your computer either via Wi-Fi or a standard USB lead. The Wi-Fi connection is very easy to set up.
Unlike the Kodak ESP C310 and ESP Office 2170, the 5250 uses Kodak's 10-series cartridges. There are two distinct cartridges: one black one and one that contains five ink colours. These slot into a print head that then slots into the main mechanism under the scanner.
Kodak's printers may cost slightly more than rival machines, but their running costs are lower, thanks to their cheaper ink cartridges. This model is no exception, as a black and white A4 sheet costs around 2.25p to print, while a colour sheet works out at around 3.79p. That's very cheap for an inkjet printer.
Ponderous print speeds
When it comes to the actual printing process, paper is fed into the 5250 upside down via a paper tray at the front that can hold up to 100 sheets. Rather inelegantly, printed material comes back out at the front and is plonked on top of the unprinted sheets. This type of configuration may be common on budget models, but it's still a very clumsy approach and you often have to reseat the unprinted paper to stop it from interfering with new sheets that are being spewed out.
Print speeds are also quite slow. The printer took 2 minutes and 4 seconds to print our ten-page black and white text document, which isn't bad, but it was very slow to finish our ten-page colour business presentation, taking 4 minutes and 15 seconds.
The 5250 didn't do much better in our colour graphics test, as printing ten copies of our test sheet took 3 minutes and 18 seconds. Photo printing proved much more speedy, though. The 5250 pumped out a 6- by 4-inch print in just 43 seconds.
Printed black and white text looks sharp and is suitably dark. The output quality perhaps isn't quite on a par with some of the very best inkjet models, as there's some slight bleeding on the paper surface, but it's not too far off either.
Graphics print quality is reasonable too, with well defined edges. Colours don't look as deep and rich as on some rival models, though.
It's a similar story when it comes to photo printing. The results are perfectly acceptable, with good levels of sharpness, but, again, colours just seem to lack punch. Also, despite selecting borderless printing in the printer driver, our test samples still came out with a slight border down two sides.
The 5250's scanner has an optical resolution of 1,200dpi and produces pretty good results. Edges are sharp and defined, and colour gradients are generally captured accurately. But, as with most of Kodak's other models, the hinges on the scanner aren't double-jointed, so it can be difficult to scan pages from thick books, for example.
The 5250 also has a photocopier function. It's pretty speedy. For example, it took just 23 seconds to make a photocopy of our black and white A4 sheet.
Overall, the Kodak ESP 5250 is decent. Its print speed and output quality aren't up there with the very best models, but it really does impress with its low running costs. If you're willing to make a slight compromise on speed and quality in order to save a few pennies on cartridge replacements, it could be worth a look.
Edited by Charles Kloet