The printer market is saturated with all-in-one/multifunction centers promising every feature known to man. What if you only don’t want to print photos or have to deal with a 30 button control panel? The Phaser 3250DN could be just the printer for you. It is a monochrome printer offering only a few simple features: automatic duplexing, network capability and a first page out in 8.5 seconds.
Phaser 3250/DN specifications
• Monochrome laser printer
• Print speed: up to 30 ppm
• Duplex printing
• First page out: as fast as 8.5 seconds
• Maximum paper size: 8.5 x 14 inches, A4
• 250 sheet paper tray, one-sheet multipurpose tray
• Maximum paper capacity: 501 sheets
• Maximum duty cycle of 30,000 pages per month
• Printer resolution: Up to 1200 dpi
• 400 MHz processor, 32 MB memory
• Windows, Mac and Linux compatible
• 10/100BaseTX Ethernet, USB 2.0 connectivity
• PostScript 3 support, 136 fonts
There are two Phaser 3250 models; the 3250/D base model and the 3250/DN network ready model. In almost all aspects, the two models are the same. The major difference between the two models – besides the Ethernet connectivity – is that the 3250/DN also features PostScript fonts and support.
The unit I am reviewing is a Phaser 3250/DN but for simplicity’s sake I’m just going to refer to it as the Phaser 3250 in this review. I will make notes when a feature I’m referring to is only available in the higher end model.
The Phaser 3250 is a small laser printer; its dimensions are 14.3 x 14.5 x 9.4. It definitely has the Xerox look: plain gray base with only the output tray and surrounding area in navy blue.
There is a small Xerox logo above the output tray and a small control panel to the right that consists of a start/stop button and two lights. The top one is a triangle with an exclamation point inside and blinks when there is a problem such as a paper jam, the printer is out of paper, etc. The one below it is three dots surrounded by two carrots and it is power light. It also blinks when a job is being processed.
Beneath the navy output tray, resides the 250 sheet paper tray and the one-sheet multipurpose tray. The multipurpose tray can be accessed by simply pressing on the outside of the door, it pops open revealing a slim tray with two pastel green paper clamps on each side for adjusting to the width of your media.
Below the multipurpose tray, the larger 250 sheet paper tray can be accessed by pulling out the drawer. It also has two pastel green paper clamps on each side as well as one in the rear for adjusting width and length.
The tray is extendable for extra long media. There are three sizes the tray can be extended to – letter, A4 and legal – by pushing down on the gray button in the middle of the tray.
The power button is located on the left side of the Phaser 3250; access to processor and heat vents are located on the right side.
The duplex unit can be accessed from the back of the printer along with the rear cover. Both of these access points are mostly designed to help with paper jams especially since the Phaser 3250 has automatic duplexing.
There are three ports located on the back of the unit. The first is for an Ethernet network connection (only on the DN) below that there is a USB connection. At the bottom there is a port for adding an additional paper tray.
Setting up the Phaser 3250
The Phaser 3250 comes with the usual installation guide print out and a software CD making installation fairly easy.
The installation guide takes a new user through the setup of the printer including: installing the toner cartridge, adding paper to the tray and putting the duplex cover on the printer.
While I felt like all of that was pretty easy to accomplish, it did bother me some that the installation guide was made up entirely of photos. I’m definitely the kind of person who likes to read printed instructions.
After you put together the printer, you should decide how you want to connect your printer. The Phaser 3250DN is network ready through an Ethernet port or can be directly connected to the PC through a USB connection (if you purchase the Phaser 3250D, that is the only way to connect the printer).
It was fairly simple to set up the printer to work on a network, just make sure you plug the printer into the router and that you turn the printer on before starting the installation. The Phaser 3250 installation CD takes care of the rest. It be important to some that the driver takes up 185 MB of space, although Xerox does not hit users with unnecessary software downloads.
All in all, it took about ten minutes to set up and start the printer.
Ease of use
The Phaser 3250 is very easy to use since it is a pretty standard printer; no scanning or faxing and the 3250 only prints in black and white. The Xerox Printer Utility is straight forward giving users many options such as automatic duplexing, poster prints and multiple page prints.
You can also access all the printer options by going to print in Microsoft Word and choosing properties (this worked on my Dell Latitude with XP and Word 2003 as well as on a Fujitsu Lifebook with Vista and Word 2007).
If you have problems with the Phaser 3250, there is a User’s Guide and a Troubleshooting Guide that is downloaded with the drivers and it can also be accessed through the software CD.
The Xerox Phaser 3250 is a good printer that actually prints at the speeds Xerox advertised. It printed one full page of text in less than nine seconds and one double-sided document in 14 seconds.
It was a little over a minute for 30 pages of full text; the 3250 printed about 28 pages in a minute when I was testing it.
The print quality is good with even distribution and there was no bleed through when using duplexing.
Speaking of, the duplexing feature was great. It’s always a treat to review a printer that duplexes on its own without the user having to turn the page. Also, you can reverse duplex and choose whether you want a long edge or short edge print. I did notice that when you printed an uneven number of pages it still pumped the last page through twice but that’s hardly a flaw.
In toner saver mode, the prints weren’t half bad, considering the printer is putting much less ink to the page.
There are also options for printing poster boards, booklets and Watermarks. When choosing the paper option; a user can select size, source and type.
The printer itself prints fairly quietly. It does get warm to the touch when printing large jobs but the vents keep it from overheating.
- Low cost per print (2.1 cents)
- High initial cost
- Drivers take up a good amount of space
I really enjoyed using the Phaser 3250. It is a compact and quiet machine that performs exactly as advertised and you can’t say that often.
My biggest concern about this machine is the high initial cost; the base model is $279 and the network ready model is $349. I’m not sure how many people are willing to pay $279 for a monochrome printer when you can find a decent all-in-one/multifunction printer for the same price.
Either way, the Phaser 3250 is a quality machine with a low cost per print. If you have a little extra money to spend on a printer for your home office, I would seriously consider the 3250.
Pricing and Availability
Both Phaser 3250 models are available on the Xerox website. The Phaser 3250D is retailing for $279 and the Phaser 3250DN is retailing for $349.
A standard replacement toner cartridge is $88.99 and a high yield replacement toner cartridge is $105.99.
Xerox states the cost per print for all consumables on the 3250 is 2.1 cents based on the default 5% black coverage for a normal black and white text print (consumables include ink cartridges, fusers, transfer belts or maintenance kits).
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