Dell 5350dn review

Dell isn't well known for its printers, so is the company's latest departmental mono laser a warmed-over effort or a tasty treat? Simon Handby finds out in our review.


Dell's 5350dn is a mono laser printer that's aimed at large workgroup and departmental use. Though not particularly expensive, it has an attractive specification: automatic duplex (double-sided) printing is standard, the two paper inputs hold 650 sheets between them, and the print engine is rated at 48 pages per minute (ppm). While some competitors offer faster printers for this market, the 5350dn undercuts many on price. With a maximum 225,000-page monthly duty cycle, it seems built to take the punishment it's likely to receive.

The 5350dn comes with automatic duplex printing as standard.

The 5350dn comes with automatic duplex printing as standard.

In photographs the 5350dn's black plastics make it look somewhat like a consumer-level device, but in the flesh it's as bulky and boxy as you'd expect for its class. At 23kg it's reasonably heavy, too, but the installation can be handled by a single fit worker if they're tall enough to get a grip on it. Dell's quick setup sheet could do a better job of explaining how to fit the output tray's paper retainer, which clips on to the very lip of the paper output.

The printer's initial setup menu also proved slightly frustrating. During localisation it's necessary to scroll down through a list of locations on the four-line display to find the UK; we're not sure why you can't use the printer's alpha-numeric keyboard to speed things up. Dell's driver disc provides a typical attended setup, but it's easy to customise the install or to create scripts for a silent rollout. The printer supports all common operating systems.

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Ongoing maintenance is likely to be reasonably painless. The printer arrives with a 10,000-page consumable, which combines toner and photoconductor drum in a single unit. There's a 7,000-page replacement, but most administrators are likely to opt for the lower cost and support overheads of the 30,000-page high-capacity supply. The standard item costs a whopping 294, but the identical Use and Return alternative is a more reasonable 212, resulting in a cost per page of 0.71p. While this is broadly competitive, it's possible to print for less in this class.

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