The Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) 5230dn monochrome laser printer may cost more up front ($1,000 as of August 27, 2010), but its speed and expandability make it an excellent choice for a medium-size workgroup. And with its three-year limited warranty with next-business-day on-site service–not to mention its cheap toner–it’s a great buy in the long term.
The 5230dn offers plenty of standard features, plus room to grow. It supports a combined 350 pages of input from the main and multipurpose trays. You can add up to three 550-sheet drawers ($250 each) and a 2,000-sheet drawer feeder ($900) for a maximum capacity of 4,000 sheets.
Equipped with USB and Ethernet ports, the 5230dn also has a slot for optional serial or parallel connectors ($90 or less). An empty bay lets you add a hard drive for fonts or forms. The control panel has a three-inch, four-line, backlit monochrome LCD that can tilt upward slightly, plus clearly labeled buttons, a keypad, and a front USB port.
Built for high-volume printing, the 5230dn has a 200,000-page monthly duty cycle and very good speed. It averaged 23.4 pages per minute on a PC and 21.5 ppm on a Mac when printing mostly plain text with some simple monochrome graphics. Though the text quality was as good as you’d expect, images suffered from a limited grayscale range and slower print times.
A high-volume office needs cheap toner, and the 5230dn delivers that. Replacement use-and-return cartridges come in $140, 7,000-page standard and $300, 21,000-page high-yield sizes, working out to 2 cents and 1.4 cents per page, respectively. Nonreturnable cartridges are available at a significantly higher cost. The printer even ships with a standard cartridge rather than a lower-capacity “starter” unit. Cartridges are easy to remove and replace; the cartridge itself displays clear illustrations, just in case.
A busy office needs a printer that can keep pace. The Dell 5230dn can do that–and it can grow with your business. The inexpensive toner and generous warranty sweeten the deal.