Suitable for Mac and Windows operating systems, the Dell 1350cnw is a capable, reliable laser printer with a maximum 3,000-page-per-month duty cycle that makes it a suitable accessory for a medium- to high-output environment like a home office or a small to midsize business. With its price already lowered to $299 since its release, the device costs as much as the HP Color LaserJet CP1215, but Dell offers more extras by way of built-in Wi-Fi, USB connectivity, and an Ethernet port for networking the printer with several mahines at once. We have nitpicky complaints about the print speeds and the minimal software offering, but the quibbles certainly don't undermine our recommendation of this printer.
Design and features
Laser printers are typically built around a standard design model that conforms to someone's idea of how a professional office should look, and the Dell 1350cnw adheres to that model with a simple rectangular design and a matte black scheme. The printer weighs about 24 pounds, so it's certainly not easy to transport, but not beyond the capacity of one person to move around.
Aside from its squared-off shape, the top of the 1350cnw is similar to HP's Color LaserJet CP1215, with an output tray on top that can hold up to 100 sheets of plain paper and a small control panel featuring a two-line monochrome LCD and seven buttons that make up the control panel just beneath the display. You get the usual array of buttons: four directional controls, an Enter key, and two buttons that let you access the virtual menu and cancel a job in progress. Dell gives you plenty of paper control options through the LCD as well: you can set paper size or input paper type, select advanced features, and change resolution settings, among other things. The features are nothing special, but the wireless connectivity adds functionality we don't usually see in laser printers at this price.
Near the bottom of the printer, you'll find a tray that folds down to reveal a 150-sheet paper input drawer with tabs that slide to adjust for a variety of media types including plain 20-pound paper, coated paper, envelopes, and labels. Dell also gives you another option for loading single sheets of nonstandard media, such as transparencies or labels.
The back of the printer has a flap that unfolds to serve as an output tray for media fed through the bypasser; this is also where you would look to mitigate a paper jam, although we encountered no jamming in our testing.
Most laser printers have a door on top of the device that pops up to reveal the toner bay, but the 1350cnw moves the access door to the right side, so take note of this to prevent obstruction in your workspace. The 13550cnw takes one black cartridge and three color cartridges for cyan, magenta, and yellow, and Dell gives you a full spread to start off.
Each cartridge yields 700 pages, which factors out to 7.1 cents per black page and 7.8 cents per page of color. These prices fall within the average cost of consumables for an office-worthy printer, and Dell also sells high-capacity toner cartridges at a discount--$70 for more than double the page yield maximum of the standards.
The 1350cnw gives you several options for connecting it to a base computer. The back of the printer has a USB port for direct connectivity as well as a 10/100 Ethernet port for networking several computers with the built-in Web server. The printer ships with a Quick Reference Guide that offers installation recommendations for IT professionals using the 1350cnw in a corporate environment.