Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

The C3110cn likes to calibrate. It calibrates when you first install toner cartridges, which is reasonable but also for a short time before each print job. You could forgive it this foible if its colour prints were spot on but there’re slightly below average. Our business graphics test print produced clear, bright colours, but there was, ironically, a registration problem between areas of colour and black text superimposed on them. It's only small, but there are other colour lasers that don't do it.

Black text print is clean and sharp though there was an odd font substitution for Times Roman italic. We're sure this could be corrected but it seems a basic error to have by default.

Our photo test print was pretty poor with a distinct red tinge to much of the landscape and detail lost in dark areas of shadow. The sky was a very bright blue and parts of the landscape weren’t completely sharp.

Print speeds were impressive, with our five page text document completing in just 19 seconds, a real world speed of nearly 16ppm. OK, so Dell claims 30ppm for black print, but we all know that printer manufacturers quote ideal conditions, which you can rarely, if ever, match in real life. The colour print sample took 25 seconds, which gives a print speed of 12ppm, closer to the 17ppm in the spec sheet.

There are four consumables to be costed: the four toner cartridges. These are each available in two capacities, standard and high yield, and even the standard cartridge has a capacity of 4,000, or in the case of black, 5,000 pages. The high-capacity versions offer 8,000 pages. When you do the figures, you're looking at a black page cost of 1.42p, which is very good for this class of printer, and 6.36p for a colour page, which is even better.

You won't have to pay much attention to the consumables on this machine, as they are simple to replace and with sufficient capacity to be only an occasional concern.


Verdict

This is a substantial colour laser with a small footprint, which prints fast but with variable quality. It's easy to set up and use and its three-way input makes it a flexible tool. If the majority of your work will be business-related it represents good value but for anybody wanting the occasional photo you'll need to work hard to get good results.

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