None of Dell’s entry-level range of colour laser printers and multifunctions are lasers. They all use an LED engine produced by Xerox, which is both simpler and smaller than typical laser equivalents. Desktop printers like the 1350cnw, reviewed here, take full advantage of this compact print engine.
Fitting well into Dell’s ‘monolithic black’ couture, 1350cnw is similar to the 1250c though with an improved control panel. This has the same set of seven control buttons as the cheaper machine, but now incorporates a backlit LCD display, viewed through an angled lens set into the printer's top surface.
The output tray is deep cut into the printer’s top surface and there's a flip-forward paper support, which you'll need to use if you don't want documents ending up on the desk. The main paper tray takes 150 sheets and is accessed by folding down a front hatch, which then becomes the bottom of the tray.
A neat little paper cover slides out from inside the machine, so you can leave it open and loaded between print runs, and the top surface of the cover acts as a 10-sheet multi-purpose tray. There are no optional paper trays to extend the paper-handling capacity of the machine.
At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet, but it also supports wireless connection and WPS setup, so it's easy to establish a cable-free connection.
Installing and changing the toner cartridges is very simple. A hatch folds down from the right-hand side and each cartridge unclips at the press of the button. Software installation is equally straightforward, though the software provided runs to little more than a consumables monitor and a proprietary driver. Support is provided for Windows and OS X.
The print engine uses a strip of high-intensity LEDs to produce a page image on the printer’s photoconductor drum, rather than having a laser beam scan across it line by line, as the drum rotates. The LED system involves none of the scanning mirror mechanism involved in directing the laser beam, keeping the whole mechanism simple.