Dell 1230c colour laser printer

Dell's 1230c colour laser printer is fast and provides good quality but it's extremely expensive to run

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Dell 1230c
  • Dell 1230c
  • Dell 1230c
  • Dell 1230c
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Prints text documents quickly, good colour print quality, versatile paper handling

Cons

  • Extremely expensive consumables, front paper tray can be frustrating

Bottom Line

Dell's 1230c colour laser printer might be cheap, but its consumables are expensive. At least you'll get decent print quality and speeds for the price, however.

Would you buy this?

We thought we'd never seen the day that colour laser printers fall below the $200 mark, yet that's the case with Dell's 1230c. It even produces great quality printouts, although their resolution is a little low for our tastes.

We'll get the bad news out of the way first: the Dell 1230c is ridiculously expensive. Sure, at $199 it has the cheapest initial price of any colour laser printer that's passed through our Test Centre, with Samsung's CLP-315 a distant second. But when you take consumable costs into account, this printer suddenly doesn't seem like such a sweet deal. The toners are tiny, yielding only 1000 pages for each colour one and 1500 pages for black toners. Despite this Dell charges $124.30 for each of them, including delivery. Add a 30,000 page drum to the mix and you get an average running cost of 46.6c per A4 page, making it the most expensive printer to run that we've ever reviewed.

The Dell 1230c colour laser printer is tiny. The front paper cassette accepts up to 150 sheets at a time and is surprisingly versatile, allowing you to adjust the guides to suit virtually any media smaller than letter format. The printer will even accept and feed photo paper, though the results aren't exactly brilliant. The tray will jut out of the printer to suit A4 paper, but can be retracted to fit smaller media. Unfortunately, we found that the tray automatically returned to full position when removing it to restock paper.

The Dell 1230c's four toners are easily replaced through a front panel. As with all Dell printers, you'll most likely have to purchase genuine consumables directly through Dell. Thankfully, warning lights on top of the printer give you plenty of time to order new toners.

You can't expect a lot of bells and whistles given the printer's price. Only a USB 2.0 connection is available, and the 1230c lacks an automatic duplexer. It does, however, offer manual duplexing through software.

Print Speed Results
Model Price Type B&W Draft
(ppm)
B&W Normal
(ppm)
Colour Draft
(ppm)
Colour Normal
(ppm)
Dell 1230c colour laser printer $199 Laser 16.2 16.2 4 4
Brother HL-3070CW $579 LED 17 17 17 14.8
Dell 2135cn $699 Laser 16 16 12 12
Fuji Xerox DocuPrint C2120 $878.90 Laser 20 20 18.2 18.2
HP Colour LaserJet CP2025dn $1179 Laser 20 20 20 20
Samsung CLP-660ND $1199 Laser 25 25 25 25
Fuji Xerox DocuPrint C2200 $1208.90 Laser 26 26 26 26

Though slow to produce colour pages, the Dell 1230c colour laser printer can print text documents surprisingly quickly.

The print quality surprised us. Text documents are largely accurate and easily readable, though smaller characters can be inconsistently bolded or faded. The colour palette is entirely accurate. It appears a little oversaturated but is certainly more vibrant than we were expecting. The complete lack of any colour mis-registration issues also surprised us, though superimposed text on a coloured background is sometimes a little feathered.

Though we wouldn't suggest using the Dell 1230c as a dedicated photo printer, graphics are quite good. Black levels are solid across large graphics, and only the printer's low resolution let it down when printing a monochrome graphic on standard A4 paper.

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