Dell's 1320cn laser printer features great quality printing at a very low cost


Great quality, fast and astonishingly cheap, the Dell should be on most people’s shortlist

Features & Design:
Value for money:
Price: $229
> Pricing info

If you'd told us from the outset that one of this month's winners would be a network-capable, single-pass printer that would top the charts for quality and near the top for speed, we'd have had no trouble believing you. If you'd told us the same printer would retail for just $229, we'd have laughed you out of the room.

While the Dell 1320cn might look uninspiring, our tests revealed it to be nearly infallible. In print quality, for instance, it scored perfectly. Our business graphics printed crisply and evenly, and with white text on red we experienced no background bleeding.

Gradients in bar graphs were smooth and consistent, and solid blocks of colour never appeared to be raised from the page, thanks to the weight of toner used.

Even our photographic test - the kiss of death for so many laser printers - was absolutely fine. Our mono photographic test was equally good.
It also managed our tests against the clock terrifically well.

Over the course of our testing it averaged a fantastic 15.4ppm, trailing only the more expensive Lexmark C540n and Brother 4040CN. It was second in the group when it came to our demanding 24-page DTP document as well: despite a difficult mixture of graphical, photographic and typographical elements, the Dell shrugged off the challenge and turned in a performance of 13ppm.

It's almost enough to earn an unqualified recommendation, but there are a few problems. First is its TCO. With high-capacity colour toner cartridges running to $119 each, and a 20,000 page image drum setting you back $259, the 1320cn is one of the more expensive printers in the long run.

If you expect to print more than a few thousand pages over the life of the printer you should look at cheaper-to-run options, particularly if you're in the market for a single-user machine. It's also worth noting that at 380mm high, it isn't very compact.

However, if you're only going to print occasionally and want to bag a fast, quality printer for just a shade under $230, it's a bargain.


This Review appeared in the March, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

See more about:  dell  |  1320cn  |  laser  |  printer

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Comments: 4
25 March 2010
Getting tired of being charged the price of a printer and the consumables end up being dearer than it would be to buy another printer ie; printer price is $230, 20K image drum $259, it's $29 cheaper to buy a new printer, but talk about a waste of recources. We really are living in a throw away society. Should be a law against this sort of pricing structure!

Comment made about the PC Authority article:
Dell's 1320cn laser printer features great quality printing at a very low cost?
Great quality, fast and astonishingly cheap, the Dell should be on most people’s shortlist

What do you think? Join the discussion.
25 March 2010
Try buying a drum for a cheap kyocera laser printer - that is about $500 for the printer, and you just cant buy a new drum!
As the price of laser printers fall,, I believe that laser printers will become as disposable as most inkjet printers. It has been my experience that most inkjet printers are lucky to last much more than 12 months - then throw away.
Even with my Brother laser printer, it was under a $100 to buy, I spend more on each toner I buy - approx $110 for 2500 pages. I do know that when the laser printer reaches 10 - 12000 copies, i will be requested to change the drum. it will be at this point that the Brother will bite the bullet and be disposed of. just cant justify the price of a drum for it!
Even so, I couldnt be happier with my brother laser printer - although I do miss the convenience of a colour multi function printer.
At thsi point of time, I do not believe that a multi function colour laser is competitive with a colour multi function inket printer.3
So in effect, i believe that as most lasers will last longer than inkjets, then the laser is far from a waste of resources. just do your sums, and work out exactly what you want from your printer. if you wnat to print pictures, then an inkjet printer is still the only answer!
18 July 2010
We currently have two Dell 1320C laser printers. One is used primarily for black and white in the home office, the other for colour repographics for teaching. The latter is networked for wireless use. Whilst they both do an adequate job the following has been annoying.

1. Toner cannot be bought online. You have to make a call. During this call you will be asked to upgrade/buy more/choose non-competive bargains. Often the person you are speaking to is not aware the printer exists or is difficult to understand.
2. Delivery is generally fairly prompt, however, we have needed to wait up to 3 days for delivery. Do you really want to wait that long?
3. It won't print in monochrome if a colour is depleted.
4. Recently two new colour cartridges failed to register with the printer and cartridges were swapped from one to the other so printing could be completed. Rendering the other 'out of action'.
5. The cartridges are very expensive. We like to keep a back-up to avoid the delivery wait time and generally end up spending approx $700
6. We have needed three deliveries this year. Our printing isn't on the increase, methinks the cartridges are not filled as much as they used to be. Previous re-stocking was approx once a year to run both printers.
7. I have noticed that the print quality of students' work from their homes is increasing and is far superior to what I am currently printing from their non-Dell printers.
8. Our printers are three and four years old. The home office one is a workhorse, mine prints about 10 colour sheets per week and has had cartridges changed twice in 3 months.

We are now in the process of purchasing another colour laser printer. Will it be a Dell? I think not.
18 July 2010
It is heavily advertised from time to time that a $300 inkjet printer is cheaper to run than a colour laser. Also, you will get a better colour print job from the inkjet. For whatever reason, print manufacturers have failed to advance the cause of colour laser printers. Instead, it is far cheaper to run 2 printers - an inkjet colour printer for printing colour pages and a monochrome laser printer for bulk printing. This will also extend the life of the inkjet quite substantially.
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