Dell Smart Printer – S2810dn


The Dell Smart Printer – S2810dn ($229.99) delivers the right mix of features for a workhorse monochrome laser printer—namely, fast speed, good paper handling, and reasonably high-quality output. Its 350-sheet paper capacity puts a limit on how much it can print conveniently, but it’s suitable, and a good choice, for up to heavy-duty use as a personal printer or moderate use in a micro to small office or workgroup.

In many ways, the S2810dn$149.99 at Dell is a close match for the Brother HL-5450DN$144.99 at Amazon, which is our Editors’ Choice for this category of monochrome laser printer. Both offer Ethernet and USB as connection choices, with the Dell printer adding Wi-Fi as an optional ($59.99) extra, and Brother offering the slightly more expensive Brother HL-5470DW$179.99 at Amazon as a nearly identical alternative to the Brother HL-5450DN, but with Wi-Fi added.

All three printers also offer similar paper handling, with a 250-sheet main tray, a duplexer for two-sided printing, and a multipurpose tray. The S2810dn actually has a small edge for its standard paper capacity, with a 100-sheet, rather than 50-sheet, multipurpose tray. However, Brother offers an optional additional tray for both of its models, boosting the maximum capacity for each to 800 sheets. The option to add another tray helps make the Brother models appropriate for heavier-duty printing than the S2810dn can easily manage. That, along with a low price, keeps the Brother HL-5450DN in place as our top pick.

Like the Brother models, the S2810dn offers mobile printing support. If you connect it to a network, you can print from iOS, Android, and Windows phones and tablets, by connecting through an access point on your network. Dell also offers the ability to print from select websites (including Dropbox, Evernote, and Box, for example) using a supplied program that runs on your PC or an equivalent downloadable app on your mobile device. In either case, you give commands from the program and relay the data through your PC, phone, or tablet.

The advantage of this approach—as opposed to connecting to websites directly with the printer and giving commands from the front panel—is that you can print from a website even if the printer is connected to your PC via USB cable. Because the PC-based app works only with Windows 7 and above, however, I couldn’t try it out with the Windows Vista system I used for testing.

The printer offers some security features for offices that need it—including private printing, which lets you send a job to the S2810dn, but not print it until you enter a PIN code at the front panel.

Setup, Speed, and Output Quality
The S2810dn measures 10.8 by 16.1 by 17.2 (HWD), which makes it a little bigger than you might like to have sitting on your desk, but small enough to fit reasonably well if you need to keep it there. At 27.1 pounds, most people will be able to move it into place without help. For my tests, I connected it to a network, using the Ethernet port. Setup is standard fare.

Dell rates the S2810dn at 35 pages per minute (ppm), which is the speed you should see when printing text or other documents that need little to no processing. On our business applications suite (timed with QualityLogic’s hardware and software), the printer managed a suitably fast 11.8ppm with its default setting for duplex (two-sided) printing, and an even faster 13.4ppm when I set it for simplex (one-sided) printing. That makes it convincingly faster than the Brother HL-5450DN, at 10.8ppm in simplex mode, or the Brother HL-5470DW, at an essentially identical 10.7ppm.

The S2810dn also delivers more-than-acceptable output quality across the board. Text is at the high end of the range that includes most monochrome lasers, making it good enough for virtually any use short of serious desktop publishing.

Graphics are at the high end of average, making the output easily suitable even for PowerPoint handouts and the like, as long as you consider monochrome output suitable at all. As with most monochrome lasers, photo output is good enough for printing photos on webpages with recognizable images, but not for anything more demanding than that.

If there’s any possibility that your print needs may increase to the point of needing a higher paper capacity, either the Brother HL-5450DN or the Brother HL-5470DW is likely a better choice than the S2810dn. Even if you won’t need a higher capacity, you might still prefer the Brother HL-5450DN over the S2810dn because of its lower price. Likewise, you might prefer the Brother HL-5470DW over the S2810dn for its lower price, plus its built-in Wi-Fi.

If you’re sure you won’t need the higher capacity the Brother printers offer, however, the Dell Smart Printer – S2810dn is a strong candidate. Its fast speed justifies its higher price compared with the Brother printers, it delivers essentially the same level of output quality, and it even offers a slightly higher standard paper capacity than either Brother model. The combination makes the S2810dn a close second to the Brother HL-5450DN overall, and a great choice as a workhorse monochrome laser printer.

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Dell B2375dnf


Meant for light- to medium-duty use in a mid-size office or workgroup, but also a good fit for heavy-duty use in a small office, the Dell Mono Multifunction Printer – B2375dnf delivers on both multifunction printer (MFP) basics and convenience features, like its touch-screen control panel. It isn’t as fast on our tests as you might expect from its 40 page-per-minute (ppm) rating. In fact, the Editors’ ChoiceOKI MB471, is faster despite a slower rating. The Dell printer is fast enough, however, so speed shouldn’t be an issue, and it offers enough overall to make it a potentially good choice.

The B2375dnf starts with a full set of MFP basics. It can print and fax from as well as scan to a PC, including over a network, and it can work as a standalone copier, fax machine, and direct email sender. It can also print from and scan to a USB memory key. Even better, it’s 4.3-inch touch screen and menus make it reasonably easy to use for copying, faxing, and email, although the touch screen is a little less responsive than it could be for scrolling through the choices.

Paper Handling and Other Basics
Paper handling is a big part of what limits the printer to light to medium-duty use by mid-size office standards. It comes with a 250-sheet paper drawer, a 50-sheet multi-purpose tray, and an automatic duplexer (for two-sided printing) standard. You can also add a 520-sheet second drawer ($149.99 direct), for a total 820-sheet capacity. If you need more than that, however, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Paper handling for scanning is similarly one step short of being suitable for heavy-duty use. The letter-size flatbed is supplemented by a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF), which can handle up to legal-size paper for copying, scanning, faxing, or email. Even better, the ADF can duplex, by scanning one side, turning the page over, and then scanning the other.

Combined with duplex printing, the duplexing ADF lets you copy both single and double-sided originals to your choice of single or double-sided copies, which is obviously a welcome convenience. However, it isn’t as desirable, or as fast, as scanning in duplex, meaning both sides of the page at once.

One other notable convenience is mobile printing support. If you connect the printer to your network, you can both print through the cloud (assuming the network is connected to the Internet) and print over Wi-Fi from iOS and Android phones and tablets (assuming you have a Wi-Fi access point on your network).

Note that the printer itself doesn’t offer Wi-Fi. If you want a printer that can connect wirelessly, you can get the Dell Mono Multifunction Printer – B2375dfw, which sells for the same list price. According to Dell, the two models are otherwise identical, which means almost all of the comments in this review should apply to both. Keep in mind, however, that printing over Wi-Fi will probably give you a different speed than printing with the Ethernet connection I used for testing.

Setup, Speed, and Output Quality
As is typical for this class of printer, the B2375dnf is far too big to share a desk with comfortably, but small enough, at 18.8 by 18.2 by 16.5 inches (HWD), so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding room for it even in a small office. Setting it up on a network, with drivers installed on a Windows Vista system, was standard fare.

As I’ve already mentioned, the printer was slower than expected in my tests. Dell rates it at 40 pages per minute (ppm), which is the speed you should see for text documents with little to no formatting. I clocked it on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at just 5.9 ppm.

As one point of comparison, when I reviewed the OKI MB471, which is rated at 35 ppm, I pointed out that its 9.5-ppm speed on our tests qualified as respectable, but not particularly impressive. Other printers do far better compared with their ratings. The 24-ppm Canon imageClass MF4770n, for example, came in at 12.3 ppm on our tests.

Output quality for the B2375dnf is absolutely typical, with text, graphics, and photos each falling within a tight range that includes the vast majority of mono laser MFPS. For text, that translates to being easily good enough for virtually any business need, but a little short of what you’d want for serious desktop publishing applications.

Graphics output is similarly good enough for any internal business need. Depending on how critical an eye you have, you may also consider it good enough for PowerPoint handouts and the like. Photos are good enough for printing recognizable images from Web pages, which is about as much as you can expect from a mono laser.

Also demanding mention is that the B2375dnf offers other useful conveniences, including private printing, for example, which lets you send a job to the printer, but not print it until you enter a password through the front-panel touch screen.

If what you need in a printer is fast speed, high input capacity, or above-par output quality, you’ll obviously need to look elsewhere. What keeps this printer in the running, however, is its long list of conveniences, from private printing to scanning to a USB key, along with its full set of MFP basics—for printing, scanning, copying, faxing, and email. If you need those MFP features more than raw print capability (meaning speed, output quality, and paper handling), the Dell Mono Multifunction Printer – B2375dnf can be a highly attractive choice and could easily be the right fit for your office.

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Dell C2660dn


As a color laser printer suitable for a small office or workgroup, the Dell Color Printer | C2660dn showed good speed and above-par output quality thanks to stellar graphics, and has competitive running costs and a generous paper capacity for its price. All this makes it easy to recommend for a small business looking for a workhorse color laser.

The all-black C2660dn measures 14.9 by 17.3 by 19.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 56.5 pounds. It’s a little too large to share a desk with, a monochrome display, four arrow controls with a central Enter button, and an alphanumeric keypad for entering choices as well as for password-protected Secure Print, which requires a user to enter a PIN to release a print job.

and you may want 2 people to move it into place. The front panel has

The C2660dn’s paper capacity of 400 sheets, split between a 250-sheet main tray and a 150-sheet multipurpose feeder, is generous for its price, and it comes with an automatic document feeder for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. It has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 50,000 pages, with a recommended monthly duty cycle of 3,500 pages. An optional 550-sheet tray ($185.99 direct) is also available.

The C2660dn offers USB and Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity. Wi-Fi is available as an option ($99.99 direct). I tested it over an Ethernet connection with the printer’s drivers installed on a PC running Windows Vista.

The C2660dn integrates with the new Dell Document Hub, which enables users to print documents from many cloud platforms, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Microsoft SharePoint Online. Use of Dell Document Hub is free until March 2014.

Printing Speed
I timed the C2660dn in its default duplex (two-sided printing) mode on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at an effective 6.5 pages per minute (ppm), a good speed for its rated speed of 18 page per minute for duplex printing (for both color and monochrome). Rated speeds are based on printing text documents without graphics or photos—our test suite includes text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content. Although our official timings are in the default printing mode (duplex, in this case), I also timed it in simplex mode (for which it’s rated at 28 ppm), where it turned in a slightly faster 6.8 ppm, the same speed at which we tested the OKI C531dn$436.78 at It’s faster than the Editors’ Choice Dell 2150cdn$302.13 at Amazon, and it edged the Samsung CLP-680ND$349.99 at Amazon, which I timed at 6.2 ppm.

Output Quality
Overall output quality was a plus for a color laser, with average text quality, above-par graphics, and photo quality on the low side of average. Text was suitable for typical business applications short of demanding desktop publishing applications and the like that use very small fonts.

Graphics quality is fine for PowerPoint handouts, even ones meant for important clients I was seeking to impress. Colors were well saturated, although a few darker backgrounds looked somewhat blotchy. Dithering in the form of dot patterns was apparent in some illustrations.

With photos, colors were well saturated. Some images showed a loss of detail in bright areas, and dithering (graininess) was evident in others. I also noted some mild posterization, the tendency for abrupt shifts in color where they should be gradual. A monochrome image was tint free, but the background was blotchy and showed traces of banding. The quality is good enough for in-house use, printing photos from Web pages and the like, but whether it’s suitable for outputting photos for a company newsletter depends on how picky you are.

Running Costs

The C2660dn’s running costs of 2.3 cents per monochrome page and 12.8 cents per color page are the same as those of the Dell 2150cdn and comparable with the OKI C531dn (2.4 cents per monochrome page and 12.3 cents per color page). Its monochrome costs are the same as the Samsung CLP-680ND, though the Samsung costs nearly a penny more per color page (13.7 cents).

Like the C2660dn, the Samsung CLP-680ND has good graphics quality and they have similar text and photo quality, but the C2660dn beats it in speed and paper capacity. The C2660dn matched the OKI C531dn in speed and has a slightly higher paper capacity (400 sheets to the OKI’s 350). The C2660dn had better output quality, for graphics and photos.

The C2660dn is a bit faster than the Editors’ Choice Dell 2150cdn, and has greater paper capacity. Although its overall output quality is good for a color laser thanks to its great graphics, it could not match the Dell 2150cdn’s. Due to its high-quality output (if, for example, you want to bring the printing of basic marketing materials in house), the Dell 2150cdn remains the color laser in its price range to beat. But the C2660dn offers a well-rounded feature set, good paper capacity and speed, competitive running costs, and output quality that should be good enough for most in-house business needs. All that could make it worthy of a place on your business’s short list.

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Dell B1165nfw MFP

by M. David Stone, 

One step down in Dell’s current line from the Dell B1265dnf Multifunction Mono Laser Printer that I reviewed last year, the Dell B1165nfw is Dell’s least expensive multifunction printer (MFP) right now. It’s also an obvious candidate if you need a personal MFP. It’s small enough to share your desk with comfortably, and it can be a good fit as a personal printer in any size office, or indeed as a shared printer for light duty use in a micro office.

The B1165nfw offers most of the MFP features you’re likely to need. It can print and fax from, as well as scan to your PC, including over a network, and it works as a standalone copier and fax machine. It also supports an assortment of mobile printing features, including Google Cloud Print for printing over the Internet and both AirPrint and Dell’s own app for Android devices for printing over a Wi-Fi connection. In addition, it offers Wi-Fi Direct, which lets you connect directly to the printer from a mobile device and print over Wi-Fi even if you don’t have an access point on your network.

Paper handling

One of the features that defines the B1165nfw as primarily a personal printer is its limited paper handling (with no upgrades available, either). The paper capacity is only 150 pages, which means that if you print more than about 30 pages a day, including copies and incoming faxes, refilling the paper tray can turn into an annoying chore. However, it should be enough for most personal use or for light duty use as a shared printer in a micro office.

Also missing is a duplexer (for two-sided printing). This can be an issue if you have to walk to the printer to turn over a stack of pages every time you manually duplex, but it’s not a problem for a personal printer sitting on your desk. For scanning, the printer offers both a letter-size flatbed and a 40-page automatic document feeder (ADF).

Setup and speed

Another feature that helps define the B1165nfw as a personal printer is its small size. At 402 x 293 x 296mm (WxDxH), it’s small enough to sit on your desk without towering over you. It also helps that it weighs only 8kg, which makes it easy for one person to move.

Setup is standard for a mono laser MFP. For my tests, I connected the printer to a wired network and installed the drivers on a system running Windows Vista.

Dell rates the printer engine at 21 pages per minute (ppm), which is the speed you should see when printing files that need little to no processing. I actually timed it at 22 ppm for printing a text file with no graphics or photos. On our business applications suite (timed using QualityLogic’s hardware and software), however, I clocked it at 7.5 ppm, which is a reasonable, but not that impressive speed for the rating and price.

As one point of reference, the less expensive Panasonic KX-MB2000 was a touch faster than the Dell printer at 8.0 ppm.

Output quality

The B1165nfw’s output quality counts as a plus, thanks primarily to its text and graphics. In both cases, the output is at the high end of the range where most mono laser MFPs fall. That makes the text a little short of what you would want for serious desktop publishing, but easily good enough for almost any business use. Graphics output, similarly, is good enough for almost any business need, including PowerPoint hand-outs and the like.

Photo quality is at the low end of par for a mono MFP, which makes it good enough to print recognisable photos from web pages. It’s not suitable for anything much more demanding than that, but if a mono printer is what you’re looking for, odds are that’s good enough for your needs.


If you need a shared MFP in your micro office for even medium duty printing, this is clearly the wrong printer to get. You’ll be better off with the Dell B1265dnf Multifunction Mono Laser Printer instead. However, if what you need is a personal printer in any size office, or a shared printer for light duty use by micro office standards, the Dell B1165nfw Mono Laser Multifunction Printer is a potentially attractive choice, especially if you need a printer that’s small enough to sit on your desk.


Manufacturer and Model Dell B1165nfw Mono Laser Multifunction Printer
Type Copier, Fax, Printer
Printer Category Laser
Direct Printing from Cameras No
Print Duplexing Manual with guidance
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono) 21 ppm
Type All-In-One
Color or Monochrome Monochrome
Technology (for laser category only) Laser
Connection Type USB, Ethernet, Wireless
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