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Dell Laser Printer 1710n

At a Glance
  • Dell Laser Printer 1710n

    PCWorld Rating

    Low toner costs and a bargain-priced 550-sheet paper tray option make the networked 1710n an economical choice.

Dell Laser Printer 1710n
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

The $299 Dell Laser Printer 1710n provides networked printing for a small workgroup with surprisingly affordable running costs.

This model is capable of delivering one of the lowest cost-per-page rates we've seen, provided that you choose its higher-capacity toner cartridges and take advantage of the company's use-and-return program. You can buy the cartridges in two capacities, rated for 3000 and 6000 pages by Dell's own toner yield estimates (based on the industry standard average of 5 percent ink coverage per page). You pay $90 for a 6000-page cartridge (or $130, if you opt not to return it). When you count the $50 price of replacing the printer drum every 30,000 pages, you pay just 1.7 cents per page above your paper costs.

The 1710n comes in Dell's signature black-and-silver colors. Its standard paper tray can handle up to 250 sheets, but you can attach a 550-sheet drawer to the underside of the printer for the bargain price of $100. If you need to print on a wide variety of media, you can use the manual-feed slot on the front of the printera??but you can print only one sheet or envelope at a time. You can't feed envelopes from the paper tray, and you'll want to open the rear exit tray at the back of the printer to give thick media a flatter path through the printer.

In our speed tests, the 1710n printed text pages at a competitive 19.1 pages per minute, but its graphics emerged slightly below average at 7.1 ppm.

The 1710n's print quality failed to impress our panel of judges. While text was readable enough, it looked too thick and heavy. Some characters had strange, flattened tops. Solid areas of text had a shiny and mottled or blotchy appearance. Line art showed some wide horizontal banding, while closely spaced parallel lines had a dark, gritty look. The grayscale image was far too dark, even when printed at different quality settings. And though some textures were in the midtones, strong moiré patterns were evident, as well.

The simple control panel has just two buttons and five LED indicators. There's no LCD to assist in setup, but installing the printer on our test network was effortless using Dell's software. Once the printer was up and running, the embedded Web server allows for checking the printer's settings and monitoring toner levels. You can also set an e-mail address to receive alerts when the printer needs attention.

This economical laser prints text quickly, but its output quality could be better.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Low toner costs and a bargain-priced 550-sheet paper tray option make the networked 1710n an economical choice.

    Pros

    • Surprisingly affordable running costs

    Cons

    • Text output was too thick and heavy
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