Color Laser Printers at Bargain Prices

Printing Speed

Our tests showed that in monochrome printing, the 3000cn did better than 20 pages per minute. In color mode, on the other hand, the multi-pass technology greatly slowed performance. However, the warm-up time was fairly short, and the first page printed fairly quickly.

Print Quality

In bitmap mode, the 3000cn got the best results, on a par with the AcuLaser C1100 (which is not surprising, since they're basically the same) and the Canon LPB-5200. Colors were particularly faithful, whether with light or dark tones, and the sharpness of the details was excellent. Obviously we're still far from the photo quality of an inkjet printer using coated paper, but on plain paper, the 3000cn actually came out better.

Cost Per Page

Given the price of the printer, Dell has ruled out the use of the high-capacity toner cartridges the 3100cn can use. Consequently the cost per page was slightly higher than it might have been, but it was still the lowest in our tests, at around 1 cent for a monochrome page at 5% coverage. That's partly because the black cartridge costs around $56 for a capacity of some 4,000 pages.


At practically all levels except speed in color mode, the 3000cn came out ahead of its competitors. Though a newcomer to the printer market, Dell has analyzed its competitors' products and designed a very well-balanced product in terms of cost and functionality.

  • chrisbak
    Your image (laser2.gif) is an excellent animation of an LED printhead in action. Can I use it in some material I am putting together for Xerox, or is there a copyright on it.

    Christine Baker