Dell 3330dn Laser Printer review

This workgroup printer has all the speed and security you'll need, but you'll have to invest in extra peripherals to put it to its best use.

28 Jan 2010
Dell 3330dn Laser Printer
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Page 1 of 3Dell 3330dn Laser Printer review


mono laser, 38ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, parallel, 260x422x369mm

Dell's 3330dn is a sturdy workgroup mono laser printer with a boxy black chassis, price and specifications that mark it as a serious business device. With a maximum duty cycle of 80,000 pages in a single month, it's fully capable of printing hundreds of documents, receipts and invoices every day. It's a little disappointing, then, that the basic version can hold just 250 sheets in its main paper tray; an additional 550-sheet tray costs £105.

The imaging drum, which must be replaced every 30,000 pages, costs £40. It's shipped with a 7,000 page toner cartridge already in place, but you'll have to open the printer to remove the cartridge's seals and protective foam padding before you power the device up. The 3330dn has an automatic duplexer for double-sided prints and native support for PCL XL and PostScript 3. Connections include USB, 10/100 Ethernet and, unusually, a parallel port.

Installing the drivers was a breeze - the installer searched for and immediately detected the printer connected to our network. The 3330dn's web interface duplicates menu options from its built-in mono LCD display, including paper handling and networking configuration.

It also helps you configure extra security settings, so you can require users to enter a PIN code to get their prints, use pre-shared authorisation keys, or require a password to use the printer. Features like this can be vital in a busy office if you don't want everyone to be able to print, or if your business handles confidential information that you want to ensure will only be released from the printer's queue when the user who ordered the print is present to collect it.

The printer has a maximum native resolution of 1,200x1,200dpi, which is used in its Best print quality mode to accurately render finely detailed diagrams and images. The default Normal quality mode uses a 1200 IQ resolution enhancement mode to produce more accurate detail when printing at 600dpi. Draft prints are at an unenhanced 600dpi.

It's blisteringly fast and print quality is outstanding, with finely shaded illustrations and photos and sharp text. At 1,200dpi, even 5pt text was pin-sharp. At standard quality, our text prints emerged at 32.6ppm. Even duplex text printed at 17.5ppm. However, image-heavy greyscale prints took significantly longer, emerging at a slow 11.9ppm using the default PCL-XL driver, with pauses every few pages. If you print a lot of illustrated documents, we recommend investing in a memory upgrade.

This is a serious workgroup printer, capable of handling jobs from every machine in a small-to-medium-sized office quickly and efficiently. We liked the secure printing features, 0.9p print costs and 14,000 page high-yield cartridges that cost just £129. If you need the speed and volume this printer can produce, it stands up well to devices from rivals like HP. However, you'll almost certainly need to invest in more memory and an extra paper tray, which ramps up its already high price even further.

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