Dell 2130cn: Big, black, will probably break your back

This morning we took our pimpin' to level 8 and broke out the Dell 2130cn -- a printer suited to people with small businesses, large homes or cube fetishes

We're pretty rock 'n' roll here at CNET. When we're not cruising in drop-top Jags or riding through Sweden on a tractor while wearing kimonos, we're testing the latest in colour laser printer technology. Someone really should write a book about our lives.

This morning we took our pimpin' to level 8 and broke out the Dell 2130cn -- a printer suited to people with small businesses, large homes or cube fetishes. It's unashamedly boxy and weighs as much as a newborn horse, but we balanced things out by connecting it to the smallest, dinkiest netbook we could find, making it the penny to our Eee PC T91 's farthing.

Inside, it uses a 400MHz processor and 256MB of memory, upgradeable to 1,280MB. Dell says it'll print 20 pages per minute mono and 16 colour, hold 250 sheets (or 500 via the optional add-on drawer), and can be relied upon to pump out 40,000 pages per month before it even breaks a sweat. Connection to a PC is possible via USB, an optional wireless adaptor, or Ethernet, so you can print over a network.

Print quality was startlingly good. To the untrained eye, it's actually on a par with inkjet photo printers and only on close inspection will you see some micro banding -- narrow, vertical lines -- on colour photos. Mono prints, meanwhile, were outstanding. Running costs seem pretty reasonable, too. By our calculations, the 2,500-page black toner cartridge, which retails for around £43.79, costs the equivalent of 2.1 pence per page, while colour prints work out at around 4.1 pence per page. That's not bad by laser standards and is significantly cheaper than you get with an inkjet.

The 2130cn retails from £269 on Dell's Web site. You have our blessing to buy one.

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