Dell Color Printer | C2660dn review

The Dell Color Printer | C2660dn has good speed and paper capacity for its price, and prints excellent graphics.
Photo of Dell Color Printer | C2660dn

As a color laser printer suitable for a small office or workgroup, the Dell Color Printer | C2660dn showed good speed and above-par output quality thanks to stellar graphics, and has competitive running costs and a generous paper capacity for its price. All this makes it easy to recommend for a small business looking for a workhorse color laser.

The all-black C2660dn measures 14.9 by 17.3 by 19.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 56.5 pounds. It’s a little too large to share a desk with, a monochrome display, four arrow controls with a central Enter button, and an alphanumeric keypad for entering choices as well as for password-protected Secure Print, which requires a user to enter a PIN to release a print job.

and you may want 2 people to move it into place. The front panel has

The C2660dn’s paper capacity of 400 sheets, split between a 250-sheet main tray and a 150-sheet multipurpose feeder, is generous for its price, and it comes with an automatic document feeder for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. It has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 50,000 pages, with a recommended monthly duty cycle of 3,500 pages. An optional 550-sheet tray ($185.99 direct) is also available.

The C2660dn offers USB and Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity. Wi-Fi is available as an option ($99.99 direct). I tested it over an Ethernet connection with the printer’s drivers installed on a PC running Windows Vista.

The C2660dn integrates with the new Dell Document Hub, which enables users to print documents from many cloud platforms, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Microsoft SharePoint Online. Use of Dell Document Hub is free until March 2014.

Printing Speed
I timed the C2660dn in its default duplex (two-sided printing) mode on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at an effective 6.5 pages per minute (ppm), a good speed for its rated speed of 18 page per minute for duplex printing (for both color and monochrome). Rated speeds are based on printing text documents without graphics or photos—our test suite includes text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content. Although our official timings are in the default printing mode (duplex, in this case), I also timed it in simplex mode (for which it’s rated at 28 ppm), where it turned in a slightly faster 6.8 ppm, the same speed at which we tested the OKI C531dn. It’s faster than the Editors’ Choice Dell 2150cdn, and it edged the Samsung CLP-680ND, which I timed at 6.2 ppm.

Output Quality
Overall output quality was a plus for a color laser, with average text quality, above-par graphics, and photo quality on the low side of average. Text was suitable for typical business applications short of demanding desktop publishing applications and the like that use very small fonts.

Graphics quality is fine for PowerPoint handouts, even ones meant for important clients I was seeking to impress. Colors were well saturated, although a few darker backgrounds looked somewhat blotchy. Dithering in the form of dot patterns was apparent in some illustrations.

With photos, colors were well saturated. Some images showed a loss of detail in bright areas, and dithering (graininess) was evident in others. I also noted some mild posterization, the tendency for abrupt shifts in color where they should be gradual. A monochrome image was tint free, but the background was blotchy and showed traces of banding. The quality is good enough for in-house use, printing photos from Web pages and the like, but whether it’s suitable for outputting photos for a company newsletter depends on how picky you are.

Running Costs

The C2660dn’s running costs of 2.3 cents per monochrome page and 12.8 cents per color page are the same as those of the Dell 2150cdn and comparable with the OKI C531dn (2.4 cents per monochrome page and 12.3 cents per color page). Its monochrome costs are the same as the Samsung CLP-680ND, though the Samsung costs nearly a penny more per color page (13.7 cents).

Like the C2660dn, the Samsung CLP-680ND has good graphics quality and they have similar text and photo quality, but the C2660dn beats it in speed and paper capacity. The C2660dn matched the OKI C531dn in speed and has a slightly higher paper capacity (400 sheets to the OKI’s 350). The C2660dn had better output quality, for graphics and photos.

The C2660dn is a bit faster than the Editors’ Choice Dell 2150cdn, and has greater paper capacity. Although its overall output quality is good for a color laser thanks to its great graphics, it could not match the Dell 2150cdn’s. Due to its high-quality output (if, for example, you want to bring the printing of basic marketing materials in house), the Dell 2150cdn remains the color laser in its price range to beat. But the C2660dn offers a well-rounded feature set, good paper capacity and speed, competitive running costs, and output quality that should be good enough for most in-house business needs. All that could make it worthy of a place on your business’s short list.

Specifications
Print Duplexing Automatic
Printer Category Laser
Direct Printing from Cameras No
Maximum Standard Paper Size Legal
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono) 18 ppm
Type Printer Only
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color) 18 ppm
Color or Monochrome 1-pass color
Technology (for laser category only) Laser
Connection Type USB, Ethernet

Verdict
The Dell Color Printer | C2660dn has good speed and paper capacity for its price, and prints excellent graphics.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc