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Dell 2150CDN review: Dell 2150CDN

If you're looking for a colour inkjet printer for your home office, Dell's 2150CDN offers decent value for money and an impressive print quality.

Niall Magennis Reviewer
Niall has been writing about technology for over 10 years, working for the UK's most prestigious newspapers, magazines and websites in the process. What he doesn't know about TVs and laptops isn't worth worrying about. It's a little known fact that if you stacked all the TVs and laptops he has ever reviewed on top of each other, the pile would reach all the way to the moon and back four times.
Niall Magennis
3 min read

Priced at £370, Dell's 2150CDN is very affordable for a colour inkjet model.


Dell 2150CDN

The Good

Impressive print quality; Modest running costs; Easy to set up.

The Bad

Print speeds could be faster; Noisy when printing.

The Bottom Line

The Dell 2150CDN produces impressive text and graphics output and it's fairly economical to run. It's not the fastest model on the block, but it still represents value for money.

It offers duplex printing and also includes Ethernet support, so you can hook it into your home network to share it with a number of PCs.

Monolith design

The 2150CDN uses traditional laser technology, rather than the LED technology employed on some of the other colour laser models we've seen recently. One of the side-effects of this is that it's a substantial beast, measuring 413mm high with a footprint of 400x406mm. You're going to need quite a large desk to accommodate it.

As this model is very noisy when it's operating, you definitely won't want it sitting right next to you when it's in full flow.

The design is nothing to write home about. Like a lot of business models it doesn't care much for style. It's essentially a tall box that's finished completely in matte black plastic. The front right-hand side does have a small two-line, 16-character monochrome LCD screen, along with a direction pad, menu button and job cancel button.

Dell 2150CDN menu
This model has quite basic controls and a small, two-line display.

Apart from the power switch on the left-hand side, that's it as far as controls are concerned. Around the back you'll find both a USB port for connecting it directly to a computer, or an Ethernet port for sharing it with a number of devices on your home office network.

When it comes to paper handling, this model has a 250-sheet feeder at the bottom of its chassis, along with a general purpose, single-sheet feeder for printing envelopes and the like. A multi-sheet tray would have been a better option here but we guess you can't have everything at this price.

All printed materials are fed out of the top into an output tray that's slightly recessed into the chassis. This has a flip-out paper holder to stop sheets falling off the back of the machine. The printer also has a duplexer built in so it can automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper, without requiring you to manually turn the paper over and reload it into the tray.

Dell 2150CDN paper feeds
The Dell 2150CDN will fit 250 sheets of paper in the bottom tray or you can add an optional tray -- for a whopping £226.

If you have really demanding print needs, Dell also offers an optional 250-sheet add-on tray, although this is pricey £226. Other add-ons available include a wireless card for £150 and a RAM upgrade from the standard 256MB to 512MB for £143.

Set-up and print speed

Getting the printer up and running really is very quick and easy. It's just a matter of installing the toner cartridges and then loading the software up on your computer. During the installation you're offered the choice of connecting it either directly via USB or remotely via Ethernet.

It's quick for printing black text as it took 39 seconds to complete our 10-page test document. Printing the same document in colours was even quicker -- it completed the job in a mere 36 seconds.

However, it was more leisurely when it came to our graphics documents. A 10-page presentation took 43 seconds to print, while our graphics test document was a good deal slower than the competition, at 1 minute and 14 seconds.

Dell 2150CDN cartridges
Set-up is quick and easy -- just fit the cartridges and install the software and you're away.

Print quality and cost

This model can't really be faulted on print quality though. Text was neatly formed, dark and inky, while graphics documents looked crisp and came out with bright, bold colours. Even the photo images on our graphics test pages were handled with a deft touch.

Print costs aren't actually too bad -- something that certainly isn't always the case on Dell models. Using the high-capacity toner cartridges, it works out at around 3.6p for a black and white page and 13.7p for a colour page. Both of these include 0.7p for paper costs.


Overall, the 2150CDN is a very capable business printer. We can't fault the quality of text and graphics output and it doesn't cost the earth to run. It's certainly not the fastest model around, but on the whole, we think it offers value for money.