Dell rates the 1355cnw at 15ppm printing black and 12ppm printing colour. These are both quite modest figures, but we didn’t see speeds that fast under test. Our five-page black text print completed in 43 seconds, giving an effective speed of 7.0ppm, but this increased to 10.4ppm for the20-page test.
This is still only two thirds of the rated speed and the five-page text and colour graphics document returned 7.3ppm. Interestingly, given this machine uses the same print engine as the 1250c, the speeds here are all a little faster than from that machine. The copy speed is fair, with a single-page colour copy taking 47 seconds and a five-page black text one finishing in 50 seconds.
The print quality is pretty good, with black text coming through crisp and dense. The printer’s resolution may only be 600dpi, but it’s easily good enough for all general purpose office duties. Colour print is also good, with bold, clean colours giving arresting graphs, charts and graphics.
Even photo prints are reasonable, with smooth colour transitions and natural hues. Darker colours are a bit too dark, but even at full page the images reproduced are very serviceable. If you are at all reluctant to buy an LED printer rather than a laser because of stories of poor LED print quality, they’re well and truly refuted by the output from the 1355cnw.
Our main problem with the 1250c was the cost of its consumables, which at 3.9p and 17.7p for black and colour respectively, were well outside the normal range, particularly for colour print. The 1355cnw uses the same cartridges, but we checked the Dell site anyway, in the hope of some reduction. They’ve gone up in price, giving new page costs of 4.3p and 19.9p, both including 0.7p for paper, as before. These are very dear, some of the highest we’ve ever seen in our years of testing.
Although the technology is interesting and the size is convenient, the price of both the machine and especially its consumables is eccentric. How does Dell believe it can get away with charging nearly 20p for a colour page, when similar printers are doing the same thing for less than half that, and costing less to buy, too. It’s a real shame, as the machine itself is easy-to-use, well-equipped and produces good print, if a bit slowly. It’s a marketing, not an engineering, fail.