Dell has recently introduced a range of page printers built around an LED print engine, made by Xerox. An LED engine is a simpler and less bulky mechanism than a laser, so using one enables Dell to design more compact printers.
True to type, Dell’s 1355cnw all-in-one has a very small footprint – just 410x379mm, yet packs in all the technology required to produce full-colour page prints, copies, faxes and scans.
The all-black machine is very angular, from the 15-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) over the flatbed scanner to its slab of a control panel, which sticks horizontally out from the front. The controls are well laid out. From left to right, there’s single-click, quick fax dialling, mode keys, a four-line LCD display, menu navigation keys, a number pad and function keys to start and stop jobs.
The front panel, below the controls, folds down to become a 150-sheet paper tray. If you want to leave the machine loaded with paper, a convenient cover for this tray slides out from inside. Paper outputs to a support just above the input tray.
Just to the left of the front-panel is a USB socket that can be used to print photos and other files directly from a thumb drive. It also enables you to save files scanned from the flatbed or auto document feeder onto a removable storage device. There’s a further USB socket the back of the device, along with an Ethernet port, but this version of the machine also supports wireless connection, which is simple to set up and worked without problem.
Drivers for Windows and OSX are supplied as standard and the four toner cartridges, which are the only consumable, plug in very simply behind a hinged flap in the right-hand end.
Print speeds are quoted at 15ppm for black and 12ppm for colour, but under test we saw 10ppm and 7ppm, respectively – still acceptable speeds for this class of machine. The print quality refutes claims sometimes made against LED printers that they don’t have the clarity or precision of lasers. The 600dpi resolution of the 1355cnw is more than enough to produce crisp, clean black text as well as bright, arresting colour graphics – and even passable photo tones, without the gaudiness from which many colour lasers suffer.
The only consumables you need to consider are the toner cartridges, but Dell has priced them high, at £70 for a 2,000-page black and £73 for each of the three 1,400-page colour ones. That’s nearly £300 for a set, or about 19p for each ISO (five per cent coverage) colour page. Most equivalent lasers cost under 13p per colour page.
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