We’d say it’s raining laser printers, but we don’t want to send you running for cover—they are quite heavy, after all. But, in recent weeks, that’s how it seems here at Computer Shopper. Given all the laser models that have hit the market this summer, as soon as we plough through one group—testing, analyzing, and writing reviews—the next bunch shows up. They’re coming from Dell, HP, and others, in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. The summer of 2012 has turned out to be one of the hottest times in memory for laser-printer releases.
Here, we took a look at Dell’s $249 B1265dnf, a multifunction (printing, scanning, copying, and faxing) monochrome laser printer. The B1265dnf is the fourth model up—in terms of features, price, and print-volume rating—in a group of five monochrome lasers that Dell released in late June. Two of the company’s three less-expensive offerings in that line, the $99 B1160 and $119 B1160w, are so-called “personal” laser printers similar to Samsung’s $129.99 ML-2165W, which we reviewed in spring 2012. (We’ll be taking a look at the B1160w in the coming weeks.) The other cheaper model, an entry-level monochrome printer-only model, the B1260dn, we looked at earlier this month.
As multifunction lasers go, at under $250, the B1265dnf is an entry-level machine. In this part of the printer market, “entry-level” is an important distinction. With budget models like this one, you typically pay a low up-front price for the machine itself, but then pay a premium each time you buy the printer’s somewhat overpriced (as we see it, anyway) toner. In addition, these lasers usually have relatively low maximum monthly duty cycles. (“Duty cycle” is the number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without excessive wear on the machine.)
Despite Dell’s “high duty cycle” proclamation for this model, the B1265dnf falls a little short of this claim. This model’s somewhat high per-page cost of operation, or cost per page (CPP), and relatively low duty cycle (20,000 pages per month) do not, in our estimation, meet the requirements for a high-volume laser. By comparison, the company’s higher-end 2355dn, with its low (under-2-cent) CPP and 80,000-page duty cycle, is a true high-volume monochrome multifunction laser. The B1265dnf is—at best—a mid-volume one.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying that the B1265dnf is not a good printer—not by any means. It prints quickly and churns out great-looking documents, making it a good fit for small offices, small businesses, and small enterprise workgroups with modest print-volume requirements. However, if you push it anywhere close to the recommended monthly volume rating, you’d be much better off, over time on a CPP basis, with a pricier model with a higher duty cycle. Just be mindful of how much you print and copy. (We analyze the cost-per-page value equation between this model and higher-volume multifunction devices later on in this review.)
Read the full review at Computer Shopper.