It’s not often that Macworld recommends Dell hardware to its readers. However, there aren’t many colour laser printers available for £200.00 or less, so the Dell C7165nf is a good option for home workers or small businesses that need an affordable workhorse printer.
There are actually two versions of this printer available. The C1765nf reviewed here costs £189.00 and provides print, scan, copy and fax functions, with USB and Ethernet interfaces for connecting to individual computers or an office network. There’s also a wifi model, called the C1765nfw that is priced at £310.00 on Dell’s web site, although we’ve seen it at around £200.00 from a few other online stores, so it’s worth shopping around if you really want the wifi version.
It’s a bit of a beast, measuring a full 338mm high, 410mm wide and 379mm deep, and weighing in at 15.5Kg, so you’ll definitely need to devote a table or desk to it in your office. Keeping the price this low also means that the C1765nf has to make a few compromises, such as the lack of two-sided printing and support for AirPrint. There are apps available for iOS and Android devices, though, so you can still print from your mobile devices if you need to.
Print speeds are also relatively modest, at around 11 pages per minute for mono an 10ppm for colour. That’s not much faster than some of the inkjet printers we review here, but the C1765nf has a monthly duty cycle of 30,000 pages per month, so it can handle a much higher workload than comparable inkjets.
And, as you’d expect from a laser printer, print quality is excellent. The printer’s 600x600dpi resolution produces smooth, clean text characters, and sharp, bright colour graphics. However, inkjet printers still produce better photo output when printing on glossy papers.
We were pleased to see that the printer ships with a full-size set of toner cartridges, rather than the small ‘starter’ cartridges that are often included with some laser printers. The drum and toner fuser units are also designed to last for the entire life of the printer, which should help to keep running costs down.
A solid printer but toner cartridges are quite expensive, at £61.20 each. The black toner lasts for 2000 pages, which works out at 3.1p per page. That’s not too bad, but the colour cartridges only provide 1400 pages, which amounts to a hefty 13.1p per page. That’s far higher than most inkjet printers, so the C1765nf is mainly suitable for plain text documents, with colour printing saved for special occasions.