The monochrome toner cartridge is easy to pull out after you disengage the plastic front panel, and Dell includes a standard-capacity toner cartridge with the unit. You can pick up a refill for $63 on the Dell Web site that will supposedly print up to 1,500 sheets. That comes out to about 4.2 cents per page, which is just higher than the average cost for a plain sheet of black ink on both laser and inkjet printers. Alternatively, if you find yourself printing more than average, we recommend investing in the $88 extra-large-capacity toner with a 2,500-page yield that comes out to 3.5 cents per page.
Dell keeps the retail cost of the 1130n low by leaving out two features: autoduplexing (double-sided printing) and the ability to print over a Wi-Fi network. Employees in an office can still link multiple stations to the 1130n using the Ethernet networking port on the back, but we're troubled by the choice to omit Wi-Fi at this price, when the Samsung ML-2525W and the Brother HL-2270DW both include wireless connectivity for $150.
The 1130n trails the competition slightly in our monochrome text throughput test, but you likely won't notice a speed difference unless you're consistently printing over 20 pages at a time. While Dell can't match the Oki B431dn's impressive 33.86 pages per minute (PPM) text-speed scores, it was still able to exceed the speed of the Lexmark E460dw in three out of the four tests.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation||Black graphics||Black text|
The Dell 1130n performed well, but not exceptionally, in the output quality assessment portion of our tests. As expected, it produced a beautiful page of black text with solid lines and clean edges with uniform character spacing and fully formed figures down to an unreadable font, but the printer failed to deliver similar results with a page of graphics. While we still don't doubt its ability to create handouts and presentation documents for the boardroom, we did notice malformed gradations and inconsistency in the finer lines. The same goes for snapshot photos, although we'll assume you aren't buying a monolaser printer to enrich your career as a photographer.
Service and support
The standard warranty for the Dell 1130n lasts one year, but you can upgrade it to up to four additional years. Dell provides free, toll-free phone support 24-7, but recommends trying the live online chat option first. For less urgent inquiries, you can also contact Dell's e-mail support team or check out its user forums. Dell's Web site has product-specific support in the form of online user guides, driver and software downloads, and a troubleshooting tool.
The Dell 1130n monochrome laser printer serves up acceptable quality for home offices and small business, with consistent performance, simple setup, and Ethernet networking, but if you're looking for a bargain or care about a Wi-Fi connection option, we recommend the Samsung ML-2525W instead.