The Dell C1660w Color Printer, compact and modestly priced, is a solid choice as a color printer for a home or micro office or as a personal printer for any size office. It is compact, has decent output quality, and its speed is passable for a low-priced laser-class printer. It’s a bit slower than the Dell C1760nw Color Printer and lacks the latter’s Ethernet connectivity and a few other features, but it is a solid, cost-effective alternative for people who can make do with connecting via USB or Wi-Fi.
The C1660w’s print engine is LED based, using light-emitting diodes rather than lasers as its light source. LED printers, though, share many of the characteristics of lasers and are considered laser class. They tend to be smaller than true lasers, however, and the C1660w is no exception, measuring 8.9 by 15.5 by 11.8 inches (HWD), the same dimensions as the Dell C1760nw and weighing 21 pounds. It’s easy enough to share a desk with.
This printer’s paper capacity is up to 150 sheets, enough so you can use it for light-duty home- or micro-office printing as well as personal printing in any size office. Otherwise, its feature set is rather sparse. It lacks an auto-duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper, as well as a port for a USB thumb drive.
The C1660w is compatible with the recently introduced Dell Mobile Print for Android, and will be with the iOS version of the app, due out in January 2013.
The C1660w offers Wi-Fi and USB connectivity, but it lacks Ethernet. I tested this printer over a USB connection with its driver installed on a computer running Windows Vista.
On our business applications suite, (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), I timed the Dell C1660w at an effective 4.2 pages per minute (ppm) a respectable speed and very good for its 10 page per minute monochrome and 12 page per minute color printing rating that is based on printing text documents without graphics or photos—our test suite includes text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content.
The Dell C1760nw was somewhat faster, at 4.8 ppm, while the Editors’ Choice Dell 1250C was a tad faster at 4.6 ppm and the Editors’ Choice Konica Minolta magicolor 1600W a shade slower at 3.9 ppm.
Overall output quality, although solid enough, was slightly sub-par for a color laser-class printer, due to subpar text. The text quality is still fine for general business use. Graphics quality was typical of a color laser, good enough for PowerPoint handouts, though I’d hesitate in handing them to people I was seeking to impress. For the most part, colors were bold and well saturated, but black backgrounds looked faded, and thin colored lines were degraded. There was some mild banding (faint striations), and many illustrations showed dithering (graininess). Photo quality is probably okay for company newsletters, depending on how picky you are, but not for marketing materials.
As a rule of thumb, the lower the sticker price of a printer, the higher the running costs, and the C1660w is no exception. Its claimed costs of 4 cents per monochrome page and 21 cents per color page are higher than the Konica Minolta’s 2.9 cents per monochrome page and 16.6 cents per color page, and a shade higher than the Dell 1250C and the Dell C1760nw’s 3.5 cents per monochrome page and 18.5 cents per color page.
If you plan to connect via USB or Wi-Fi and don’t need Ethernet, you can save some money up front by picking the Dell C1660w Color Printer over the Dell C1760nw. You’ll miss some features, though, like a 10-sheet bypass tray, and the C1760nw’s lower running costs may allow you to recoup the difference over time. The Editors’ Choice Konica Minolta magicolor 1600W has even lower running costs and a larger (200-sheet) standard paper capacity. The Editors’ Choice Dell 1250C is also a good option, but its connectivity is USB only.
More Laser Printer Reviews:
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||12 ppm|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)||10 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||1-pass color|
|Technology (for laser category only)||LED|
|Connection Type||USB, Wireless|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc