Dell B1165nfw Mono Laser Multifunction Printer review

Pros

  • Prints, scans, copies, and faxes
  • Compact size
  • Automatic document feeder
  • Ethernet connectivity

Cons

  • Low paper capacity
  • No duplexer, not even as an option

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.

Verdict

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.

Specifications

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