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Dell 3330dn Laser Printer review

Dell 3330dn Laser Printer
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £504
inc VAT

This workgroup printer has all the speed and security you'll need, but you'll have to invest in extra peripherals to put it to its best use.


mono laser, 38ppm print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, parallel, 260x422x369mm

Dell’s 3330dn is a sturdy workgroup mono laser printer with a boxy black chassis, price and specifications that mark it as a serious business device. With a maximum duty cycle of 80,000 pages in a single month, it’s fully capable of printing hundreds of documents, receipts and invoices every day. It’s a little disappointing, then, that the basic version can hold just 250 sheets in its main paper tray; an additional 550-sheet tray costs £105.

The imaging drum, which must be replaced every 30,000 pages, costs £40. It’s shipped with a 7,000 page toner cartridge already in place, but you’ll have to open the printer to remove the cartridge’s seals and protective foam padding before you power the device up. The 3330dn has an automatic duplexer for double-sided prints and native support for PCL XL and PostScript 3. Connections include USB, 10/100 Ethernet and, unusually, a parallel port.

Installing the drivers was a breeze – the installer searched for and immediately detected the printer connected to our network. The 3330dn’s web interface duplicates menu options from its built-in mono LCD display, including paper handling and networking configuration.

It also helps you configure extra security settings, so you can require users to enter a PIN code to get their prints, use pre-shared authorisation keys, or require a password to use the printer. Features like this can be vital in a busy office if you don’t want everyone to be able to print, or if your business handles confidential information that you want to ensure will only be released from the printer’s queue when the user who ordered the print is present to collect it.

The printer has a maximum native resolution of 1,200×1,200dpi, which is used in its Best print quality mode to accurately render finely detailed diagrams and images. The default Normal quality mode uses a 1200 IQ resolution enhancement mode to produce more accurate detail when printing at 600dpi. Draft prints are at an unenhanced 600dpi.

It’s blisteringly fast and print quality is outstanding, with finely shaded illustrations and photos and sharp text. At 1,200dpi, even 5pt text was pin-sharp. At standard quality, our text prints emerged at 32.6ppm. Even duplex text printed at 17.5ppm. However, image-heavy greyscale prints took significantly longer, emerging at a slow 11.9ppm using the default PCL-XL driver, with pauses every few pages. If you print a lot of illustrated documents, we recommend investing in a memory upgrade.

This is a serious workgroup printer, capable of handling jobs from every machine in a small-to-medium-sized office quickly and efficiently. We liked the secure printing features, 0.9p print costs and 14,000 page high-yield cartridges that cost just £129. If you need the speed and volume this printer can produce, it stands up well to devices from rivals like HP. However, you’ll almost certainly need to invest in more memory and an extra paper tray, which ramps up its already high price even further.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Maximum native print resolution 1,200×1,200dpi
Maximum enhanced print resolution 1,200×1,200dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 38ppm

Tested Speeds

Mono page from sleep time 1.0 8s
Letter, time to first page 1.0 8s
25-page mono document – total time 00:00:46
Time for 24 pages mixed greyscale 1.0 2m 1s
Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 27s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 30s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB, 10/100 Ethernet, parallel
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 260x422x369mm
Weight 3.4kg
Noise (in normal use) 53dB(A)
Duty cycle 80,000 pages
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 11W
Power consumption active 560W

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size up to A4
Maximum paper weight 160gsm
Standard paper inputs 2
Standard paper input capacity 300
Maximum paper inputs 3
Maximum paper input capacity 850
Output tray capacity 150 sheets
Duplex (code, cost if option) Yes


Printer technology mono laser
Language(s) PCL 5e, PCL 6, Personal Printer Data Stream (PPDS)
Supported operating systems Windows 2000/XP 32-bit/XP 64-bit/Vista 32-bit/Vista 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.2-10.6, Linux
Standard printer memory 64MB
Maximum printer memory 576MB
Other laser features and options warranty extension to 2 years (£80), warranty extension to 3 years (£100), warranty 4-line mono LCD display, extension to 4 years (£130), warranty extension to 5 years (£160), three year onsite warranty (£210)

Buying Information

Price £504
Price per mono A4 page 0.92p
Price of 2nd paper cassette 550-sheet paper tray, £89
Capacity of supplied black toner 7,000 pages
Capacity of supplied drum(s) 30,000 pages
Estimated mono TCO – three years light £504
Estimated mono TCO – three years medium £633
Estimated mono TCO – three years heavy £1696
Warranty one year RTB

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two greyscale 10x8in photos 1.1 27s
Time for six greyscale 6x4in photos 1.0 30s