For a company that makes very few, if any, of its own printers or all-in-ones, Dell has a wide range. The 1235cn is a small form-factor, colour laser multifunction, looking suspiciously like the Samsung CLX-3175FW we reviewed about six months ago. However, the Dell machine is brand new and has a couple of differences from the other machine, which we'll highlight. For a start, it costs over £60 less than the Samsung device, but at least part of that is because the 1235cn has no wireless networking.
Outfitted in Dell black throughout, with a piano black control panel and textured black for the rest of the case, the 1235cn is about the size of a typical mono laser multifunction. It has a scanner on top, complete with 15-sheet Auto Document Feeder (ADF) and in front of this is the full-width control panel.
There's a 2-line by 16-character backlit LCD display, which is fine for status messages such as the number of copies and the current enlargement/reduction ratio set. To the right of this are function keys for scan, copy and fax, as well as a square of navigation controls with an illuminated blue border, showing when jobs are under way. To the right of this is a number pad for fax dialling, though there are no quick-dial buttons. Finally, at the right-hand end are buttons to start and stop copy and scan jobs.
A dual-function USB socket just under the right-hand end of the control panel is designed for both PictBridge and USB drive connection. We had no trouble with a USB drive, other than the two-line LCD display being rather cramped for navigating down to the graphic files we wanted to print.
With our normal PictBridge camera, a venerable HP Photosmart R507, though, we made connection, but never got to the selection and print screen, as the system locked up instead. A second, Ricoh, camera worked without fault, but our problems indicate that not all PictBridge devices may be compatible.
At the base of the front panel is a single, 150-sheet paper tray, with no multi-purpose feed. Even though this printer is obviously intended for individual use, 150-sheets is a bit meagre. At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet, as well as for a fax line cable and an optional phone handset.
The small size of the 1235cn is partly due to the vertical stacking of the four toner cartridges, which are an incredibly easy fit behind the fold-down front panel. There's a photoconductor drum unit, which has to be replaced too, but this is only necessary every 24,000 pages.
Dell provides the same SmarThru document management software as Samsung; we encountered no problem installing it or the provided printer driver. There's no obvious provision for Macs, though Windows machines are supported from Windows 2000 onwards.