Dell 5230dn review

Price when reviewed

Dell’s 5230dn mono A4 laser is the very definition of the office workhorse. From its 43ppm print speed to its integrated duplexer, it’s designed to churn through pages.

Dell 5230dn review

It certainly has the capacity: the basic 250-sheet input tray can be augmented with three 550-sheet drawers, an envelope feeder and a 2,000-sheet feeder. There’s an optional 80GB hard disk and wireless print server available, and the base 128MB of RAM can be upgraded to 256MB for £38.

If you agree to Dell’s buy-and-return recycling policy and buy the 21,000-page cartridge, prints cost less than 1p per page. It ships with a 7,000-page cartridge, which returns 1.5p per page, or a hefty 2.1p if you don’t recycle it.

Dell 5230dn

The 5230dn claims a true 1,200dpi resolution, but this drags down print speeds. A 40-page Word document at the 2400IQ interpolated setting delivered 44ppm, but at 1,200dpi this dropped to 23ppm. We saw similar speeds for our 24-page DTP print.

There isn’t much point in 1,200dpi anyway, since it makes little difference to quality. Text in 2400IQ mode was clean and sharp, and quality for general business reports was acceptable, with little evidence of banding in graphs. The 5230dn doesn’t handle photos as well, though: they’re marred by banding and a lack of detail in darker areas.

Access security is good: the printer has an internal user database, supports LDAP, Kerberos, passwords and PINs, and offers a web-based wizard to help set up each one. The front USB port can also be used to print PDFs directly from flash media.

The 5230dn is a good choice for workgroups that have big printing demands. Its low initial price and a huge range of expansion options makes this our new favourite network laser printer.

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final1200 x 1200dpi
Rated/quoted print speed43PPM
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionyes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page1.0p
Cost per A4 colour pageN/A


Monthly duty cycle200,000 pages
High-yield mono toner life21,000 pages
Supplied mono toner life7,000 pages

Power and noise

Dimensions425 x 640 x 402mm (WDH)

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured)44.0ppm
Colour print speedN/A

Media Handling

Input tray capacity250 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?yes
Bluetooth connection?no

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Other operating system supportWindows Server 2000, 2003, 2008; Linux

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