Dell 2130cn

A basic and cheap Dell colour laser printer.

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Dell 2130cn
  • Dell 2130cn
  • Dell 2130cn
  • Dell 2130cn

Pros

  • Relatively cheap, fast, good quality printing, separate USB port for Wi-Fi configuration

Cons

  • Expensive running costs, extra options are extremely expensive, Web interface could be more comprehensive

Bottom Line

Dell's 2130cn can produce surprisingly good results at a reasonably fast pace given its price. However, it doesn't offer the most comprehensive remote administration options.

Would you buy this?

The Dell 2130cn is an affordable and quite competent colour laser printer that can be directly connected to a PC using a USB port or plugged into a network thanks to its Ethernet adapter.

Like the 2135cn, the 2130cn doesn't attempt to wow with its looks. Dell has chosen a fairly plain design, with a monochrome colour scheme and a simple layout that facilitates easy maintenance and general use. Toners are easily accessible from a side panel, and the imaging unit hides behind a panel on the printer's front, making paper jams easy to resolve and the optional automatic duplexer simple to install.

The control panel is made up of a five way navigation pad and two quick access buttons. These provide access to basic printer status and maintenance functions, with a three-line monochrome LCD used as the display.

The 2130cn has a 250-page input tray and can fit 150 pages in the output tray. This isn't fantastic but is to be expected from a sub-$1000 laser printer. Dell claims the 2130cn has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 40,000 pages.

The printer has both USB and Ethernet ports. A USB adapter will also allow it to connect to a wireless network; the printer will not recognise third party adapters, only an overpriced Dell adapter.

The 2130cn's Web interface offers most of the standard features found on other printers, with statistics, network configuration, e-mail alerts and colour balance options all available. However, the unit lacks the advanced networking and security options available on more expensive laser printers, such as 802.1X authentication.

Dell's Toolbox software offers access to the same functions as the Web interface when the printer is connected locally via USB.

The 2130cn boasts fast print speeds for a printer at its price point. During our tests we witnessed speeds very close to those claimed by Dell, with the 2130cn able to print 20.7 mono text pages per minute and 16.2 colour pages. When printing a mono document the first page was out in an average of 13.2sec, indicating the 2130cn's ability to quickly warm up. The unit's speed easily surpasses other similarly priced colour laser printers.

Fast print speeds don't come at the cost of quality, either. Armed with a 600x600dpi hardware resolution, the 2130cn produces very accurate and readable text documents. Though the 2130cn utilises the same toners as those found in the 2135cn, colours printed by the 2130cn are much more vibrant. The colour palette is acceptably accurate for professional documents and the printer did a good job when combining text and graphics — even a premium machine like HP's Colour LaserJet CM3530fs was unable to print a difficult combination like black text on a blue background as well as the 2130cn.

In its standard configuration, the unit is one of the cheapest colour laser printers on the market — particularly with regular online discount prices — but adding optional extras quickly increases the cost. Adding an automatic duplexing unit, for instance, attracts an extra cost of $416.90 — the same amount users will have to pay for an additional 250-sheet input tray. The base 2130cn is well worth the cost. Add a few extras, though, and the cost blow-out certainly isn't worth it.

Based on high yield toners that last 2500 pages each, the printer will cost users an average of 23.85c per page. This means printers with a higher initial price point are more likely to be cheaper in the long run due to higher yield toners and better cost per page pricing.

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