Suitable for Mac and Windows operating systems, the Dell 1355cnw is a capable, reliable color laser printer that can output up to 30,000 pages a month and also acts as a copier and a high-resolution scanner. Its 150-sheet input tray makes it most suitable for small-to-medium businesses with moderate printing needs, but Dell offers extras to sweeten the deal, like built-in Wi-Fi along with USB and Ethernet connectivity, and a 15-sheet autodocument feeder for the scanner. The 13550's print speeds and minimal software could be improved, but small quibbles don't undermine a solid recommendation.
Design and features
Dell built the 1355cnw on the same lines as the smaller Dell 1350cnw I reviewed earlier this year. With the same laser print engine inside, the big upgrades on the 1355cnw are a larger four-line monochrome LCD display and more buttons on the panel that control the device's scanning and copying features.
Dell keeps the 1355cnw relatively fit and easy to move around an office, opting for a square footprint instead of a rectangular one. The printer measures 16.1 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and 13.3 inches tall, and weighs just over 34 pounds. Thankfully, you get two notched grips on either side of the machine that give you more leverage during moves.
As with many laser printers, paper feeds in through the tray on the bottom of the 1355cnw and comes out facedown on top of the printer. Since the storage bin can only hold up to 150 sheets of plain paper and doesn't allow automatic double-sided printing, make sure your office isn't printing large-volume documents every day or you'll find yourself constantly getting up to monitor and replace depleted sheets. Dell rates the printer's monthly duty cycle at a maximum 30,000 prints per month, which should be more than enough pages for a small business or a home office.
Creative professionals will appreciate the special 10-sheet bypass tray that hides behind a fold-out door on top of the standard input tray. This tray is designed for alternative forms of print media beyond typical 8.5-by-11-inch reams; you can load only one size at a time, but the tray can accommodate transparencies, labels, envelopes, postcards, card stock, and some other types of media that can't load into the paper tray.
The control panel features a four-line LCD screen that displays monochromatic characters alongside an array of buttons--34, to be exact, including four directional controls positioned around an Enter key, two buttons to access the virtual menu, and one to cancel a job in progress. Dell gives you plenty of paper-control options through the LCD as well: you can set paper size and input paper type, select advanced features, and change resolution settings.
The back of the printer reveals a flap that unfolds an output tray for media fed through the bypasser. This is also where you would look to address a paper jam, although I didn't encounter any jamming problems in my testing.
Setting up the printer should be easy for IT professionals, but others shouldn't have a problem following the included pictographic instruction manual. I'm also thankful to Dell for including a USB cable in the box, since a lot of vendors leave them out. Aside from letting you connect the printer directly to a computer, the USB cable is essential for creating an ad-hoc network for wireless access.
The Ethernet port on the back of the 1350cnw makes it possible for multiple users to connect to the printer through an interoffice network, but it's also set up for Windows and Mac users to link up to its internal Wi-Fi print server. None of these features is unique to the 1355cnw, but the combination of wireless connectivity adds utility you don't typically see in color laser printers.