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Dell W5300n review: Dell W5300n

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In CNET Labs tests, the Dell W5300n was easily the fastest workgroup laser printer we've tested for text and graphics speed. While not close to Dell's idealized 45 pages per minute (ppm), the W5300n still produced some remarkable performance numbers. Tested in default mode at 600 dots per inch (dpi), the W5300n rolled out text at 27.4ppm, easily beating the 24.2ppm former speed champion, the HP LaserJet 4200. On a mixed text/graphics document, the W5300n slowed down only a mite to 24.7ppm, and only the HP LaserJet 2300dtn, with its 13.9ppm speed, comes within spitting distance of that score.

Moving as quickly as it does, the W5300n doesn't linger over print-quality details. Instead, it produces legible, dark-looking, good-but-not-perfect monochrome text. The W5300n's monochrome graphics were decent but not stellar. The graphical elements in CNET Labs' mixed graphics/text test document came out looking less dark and dense than they should have, and the shading in the gradients was neither smooth nor even.

For somewhat better-looking text and graphics, users can set the W5300n to print at its maximum coverage of 1,200x1,200dpi; however, this will reduce the print speeds.

Laser printer speed (workgroup)
Pages per minute
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Dell W5300n
HP LaserJet 4200
Dell M5200n
HP LaserJet 2300dtn

Laser printer quality
•Poor   ••Fair   •••Good   ••••Excellent
 Printer  Text  Graphics
 Dell M5200n ••• •••
 Dell W5300n ••• •••
 HP LaserJet 4200 ••• •••
 HP LaserJet 2300dtn ••• •••

The Dell W5300n laser printer is supported by an industry-standard one-year limited warranty that is generally on a par with HP's workgroup printer support. Dell includes onsite, next-business-day tech support and toll-free, 24/7 telephone help. If the W5300n requires parts or onsite service during the year, Dell will provide this within one business day. A three-year limited warranty, recommended by Dell for most businesses, costs $199 extra. This can be upgraded to Gold Technical Support for an additional $89. At the Gold level, Dell promises callers reduced hold times, quick access to senior-level technicians, and faster problem-resolution times. A four-year limited warranty is also available for $349.

What you don't get from Dell, however, is thorough technical support through either the printer manual or the software. The printed owner's manual for the W5300n, for example, provides installation instructions but does not include a troubleshooting guide. There is a troubleshooting section in the user guide on the CD-ROM, but this covers basic printing problems and print-quality issues, and it doesn't offer any real solutions for networking difficulties or other potentially complex problems. With the W5300n, small offices will require a technical-support staff.

Dell's online support site provides drivers, downloads, FAQs, user manuals, a searchable knowledge base, and a community forum containing many product-specific message boards.

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