Dell claims a top print speed of 33ppm for the 2330dn, though that’s printing on US letter paper. You can normally take 1ppm or 2ppm off this for the longer A4 pages, but even at 30ppm, it would be a good speed for this class of laser.
If you’re now expecting us to write that the printer unfortunately got nowhere near this, you’ll be a bit surprised, as we were. While we didn’t make 30ppm, our 20-page text document did reach 25.5ppm by completing in just 47 seconds. On a very long print run you might be able to get close to the headline figure. This is very good for a small workgroup printer and subjectively the pages flow out quickly onto its top cover.
Our five-page text and graphics document, which is basically the same page printed five times and only therefore requires one rasterisation, took just 16 seconds, a speed of 18.8ppm, which is very speedy.
Even when we cut in the duplexer and printed our 20-page document as a 10-page, double-sided job, the 2330dn still managed it in 1:22, which is a speed of 14.6 sides per minute. Finally, a 15 x 10cm photo printed on A4 took 13 seconds, and that was in best quality mode, when the machine is printing at a full 1200dpi.
Its standard print mode is 600dpi, but text still comes out looking very crisp and with almost letterpress definition. It would be fine for internal documentation or external reports for customers.
Greyscale graphics are also very good, with little sign of the banding so often found when mono printers try to print greys. There are enough greyscales to reproduce full-colour well for business graphics, though our photo print came through rather dark and lost nearly all its shadow detail to black. You could compensate for this, of course.
Like Lexmark, whom we suspect manufacturers this machine for Dell, you can buy straight toner cartridges or save around £15 each time, by opting for the Use and Return variant, which obliges you to return the cartridge at the end of its life. Saving money and the planet at once is a bit of a no-brainer, so we used the Use and Return cartridge prices and came up with a cost per page of 2.05p including 0.7p for paper.
This is low, even for a mono laser, and although there are other machines, such as the Kyocera Mita FS-1350DN, which beat it comfortably, most of them don’t offer the same print speed as the 2330dn.
Dell’s 2330dn is an excellent, mid-range, small-office printer, which produces excellent print at very reasonable cost and more quickly than most of its competitors. It doesn’t even take the kind of hit most of them see when printing duplex. It could do with a USB socket and a bigger paper tray as standard, but those are really the only niggles we have with the machine.