The Dell 1320c is a low-cost, color laser printer geared for small businesses or work groups. The $300 USB-only printer is slower than its competition with black prints but picks up the slack on color prints. Though not without its faults, the print quality is sufficient for most business uses. If you print a ton of black text documents, you're better off with the $400 Lexmark C500n, and if you want a better balance of print speeds between color and black, try the $400 Oki C3400n. The Oki's print quality is a bit better than the Dell's, too.
The Dell 1320c's design is basic and straightforward, befitting its small-office role. The dark gray printer sits 15.6 inches wide, 16.6 inches deep, and 14.8 inches tall, and weighs a bit less than 40 pounds. The control panel is limited to two buttons (cancel and continue) and a graphic representation of the printer with LEDs that light up to indicate where a problem is occurring. For example, the paper tray area icon lights up when the tray is open, and the four toner icons light up if toner is running low--useful since the printer lacks a text LCD.
The main paper tray holds 250 sheets of regular paper, and a single-sheet manual feed slot resides on the front of the paper tray. The input capacity is not expandable on this model. The top-mounted output bin holds up to 150 sheets.
The four toner cartridges are hidden behind a panel on the right side of the printer. The cartridges for this unit are small and lightweight. Pulling them out, however, causes toner to dust your desktop--you've been forewarned. Each cartridge comes in two capacities: 1,000 prints and 2,000 prints. The small black costs $45, and the small color cartridges cost $59 each. The larger versions of each cost $60 and $79, respectively. Using the larger cartridges for best value, we calculate that a black-only print costs about 3 cents and a full color page costs about 15 cents. Both costs are reasonable, though slightly higher than those for the Oki C5500n. The monthly duty cycle is 35,000 prints.
The Dell 1320c has the basic features you'd expect from a basic color laser printer. The base model connects via USB only, but you can add on a network adapter for $50. It ships with a 333MHz processor and 64MB of nonexpandable memory. There's no duplexer unit available for the 1320c, but the printer's driver will assist you with a manual duplex print job. Likewise, the driver can help you shrink or enlarge a print, create a poster or booklet print, and make N-up prints.
Compared to its similarly priced competition, the Dell 1320c is a bit slow with black prints, but faster with color. It printed black text at a rate of 12.11ppm, slower than the Samsung CLP-300N, the Oki C3400n, and the Lexmark C500n. With black graphics, it fell well behind both the Lexmark and the Oki, but was much faster than the Samsung. The Dell was the fastest of the bunch at color prints, just edging out the Oki and was the second fastest at color graphics, falling behind the Oki.