Dell 1320C printer review

The Dell 1320C is a personal colour laser printer with USB and networking connections. It's just £204, which is impressive given the decent specification. A personal laser printer is a great alternative to an inkjet-based equivalent as it will produce a higher number of pages for your money. If you don't print many photographs and find yourself doing more business type documents this might be the printer for you.

The 1320C is a basic beast having just the two buttons and a selection of flashing lights, but to be honest there's not really much more you need. The design is simple too, however the Dell feels well built. The paper tray only holds 250 sheets of A4 at a time it does have a manual feed for envelopes though. Our only minor gripe with the design of the Dell is that the paper tray extends a couple of inches past the rear of the machine, but it's not a major issue.

It's not too large for a laser printer, but you will have to make extra room on your desk if you're replacing an inkjet. The toner cartridges are held in a single caddy-style arrangement, which is removed in one piece. We've seen more elegant approaches, but it does the job.

Where it really matters the Dell is a very capable performer. Print quality is impressive across the board; it's fast too with just 8 seconds needed to print 1 page of text and 57 for 10 sheets. Characters are well defined and we were impressed by just how sharp the output was from this £200 printer. Colour output was just as good; we tested the 1320C with a business document that included the usual graphs images and multi-coloured backgrounds you'd expect. Each page was sharp and colour accuracy really impressive. Even the images, which are usually a weak spot for laser printers were excellent. Again, it took the Dell just under 1 minute for 10 pages. One other aspect of the Dell we were impressed by was noise or more appropriately a lack of it. A small thing, but the 1320C is pretty quite in operation.

When it comes to consumables the laser clearly outdoes the inkjet on the number of pages produced front. However, it should be noted that a set of replacement cartridges for the Dell will set you back £220. That's £20 more than the cost of a new printer. Of course, the replacement toner capacity is higher than the ones shipped with the Dell, but it's worth considering. Also, it's unlikely you'll be able to pop down to PC World or other high street retailer and pick up toner for the Dell in same way you could for an inkjet.

Verdict

The 1320C is a great little printer, not only does it produce fantastic quality colour documents it includes network connectivity in the price. The speed, price and unfussy design combine to make the Dell a great choice. The toner replacement could be a little less fiddly and we'd have liked the paper tray to sit flush with the back of the printer, but these are very minor gripes. If you find your inkjet is proving too costly then perhaps it’s time to investigate a small home laser such as the 1320C.