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Dell 1130n Laser Printer review

Verdict:

The 1130n is unquestionably an excellent printer, but Samsung's original version is cheaper and costs less to run.

Review Date: 10 May 2010

Price when reviewed: £140

Supplier: http://www.dell.co.uk

Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

Dell's smart-looking mono laser is actually a rebadged Samsung ML-2580n with customised firmware. We've been impressed by Samsung's recent mono lasers, so Dell has picked a good starting point with the 1130n. The little printer itself is simple, with a 250 sheet paper tray and a sheet feeder for envelope printing. It has both network and USB ports, comes with a 700 page starter cartridge and has a maximum duty cycle of 12,000 pages. Driver installation took around 15 minutes, including time spent downloading and installing firmware updates.

The Windows driver can be switched between its default host-based Samsung Printer Language (SPL) and PCL 6. PCL prints are a few seconds slower yet qualitative differences are minimal. PCL support is useful if you require documents to be rendered with great accuracy or wish to print from computers using generic PCL drivers. Other options are available via an easy-to-use web interface, which provides support for Epson and IBM language emulation, email notifications, toner consumption and network settings.

Print quality is excellent at the 1130's native 600dpi. Mono text was clear and sharp, while greyscale business graphics were smooth and evenly shaded. Print speeds were impressive and we were surprised to find that our illustrated greyscale document printed even faster than plain mono text, at 19.7ppm, compared to 17.6ppm for our text document. Regardless of what you're printing, these speeds should be fast enough for most small businesses.

For our photo printing test, we used the effective 1,200dpi resolution of the driver's Best quality mode. The resulting pictures emerged at 27 seconds for six 6x4in photos on three sheets of A4 and 34 seconds for two 10x8in pictures. All were smoothly shaded with little banding. In our small font size test, 5pt text was jagged at default quality sittings, but clear and sharp at Best quality with the Fine Edge option enabled.

If you buy directly from Dell, both the printer and its standard and high yield toner cartridges cost more than most products of this sort. Doing so might be beneficial to some businesses, as Dell provides a one year onsite warranty, which can be extended to five years for just £38. Nonetheless, we've seen the printer the 1130n is based on for almost £50 less and the 1130n's 3p page cost is poor by the standard of most mono lasers.

Dell's high yield 593-10961 toner cartridges cost £74, while the Samsung ML-2580n's high yield MLT-D1052L cartridge costs around £50. The Total Cost of Ownership is also high - at Dell's prices you'll spend £288 over three years' light use (100 pages a month) and £806 for over three years' medium use (750 pages monthly). The 1130n is very good, but we see no reason to buy it from Dell when Samsung's ML-2580n is effectively the same printer for less money.

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