The Dell C3765dnf Colour Laser Printer, a multifunction (MFP) variant of the Dell C3630dn, shares many of that single-function printer's strengths while adding copying, scanning, and faxing to the mix. Its combination of good speed, excellent graphics quality, a generous feature set, and low running costs are certainly a very compelling mix for SMBs and workgroups.
The C3765dnf prints, copies, scans, and faxes. You can print from or scan to a USB stick, scan to email, a PC or network folder, an FTP site, or an application on your computer. It can fax either from the printer or from your PC.
The C3765dnf looks identical to the C3630dn, but with an automatic document feeder (ADF) control panel set on top. It measures 440 x 530 x 560mm (WxDxH) and weighs 33kg, so you'll definitely need two people to move it into place. It's unusually tall for an MFP of its class; when it was on our test bench, I found myself wishing that the front panel were tilted more towards me rather than mostly upward. It was still usable, but I'm 6 feet tall. In a workgroup setting, you'll want to set it up on a relatively low table.
That front panel houses a 4.3in colour touch LCD, an alphanumeric keypad for both faxing and password-protected printing, and a handful of other buttons. The 50-sheet ADF is a duplexing model, capable of scanning and faxing two-sided documents.
The Dell C3765dnf has a standard paper capacity of 700 sheets, split between a 550-sheet main tray and a 150-sheet multipurpose tray. An optional 550-sheet tray boosts the maximum paper capacity to 1,250 sheets. It has an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper.
The printer ships with PCL, PostScript, and host-based drivers. Software includes Nuance PaperPort Professional 14, and ColourTrack Pro, which manages colour usage.
USB and Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet) connectivity are standard; Wi-Fi is available as an option. I tested the machine on a wired network with drivers installed on a PC running Windows Vista.
As is the case with the Dell C3760dn, the C3765dnf ships with duplex (two-sided) printing as the default. A small but growing number of laser printers, including some Canon and Xerox models, are similarly set. This helps users save paper when they don't need to print single-sided documents.
Although this is both cost-effective and ecologically sound, generally speeds for duplex printing are somewhat slower for the same number of pages, as the printer has to turn each printed sheet over in order to print the second side. We do our business applications testing using default settings, as we've found that most users tend to stick to them, so we did our official speed tests of this printer in duplex mode.
On our business applications suite, I timed the Dell C3765dnf in duplex mode at an effective 8.2 pages per minute (ppm), a fast speed for a colour MFP and excellent for its 23 page per minute rating for both colour and monochrome duplex printing that’s based on printing text documents without graphics or photos – our test suite includes text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content. In comparison, the Lexmark X548dte, rated at 25 pages per minute for both monochrome and colour printing, was slower at 7.0 ppm.
I switched to simplex mode, for which the C3765dnf is rated at 36 ppm for both colour and monochrome, and it zipped through the same tests at 10.1 ppm. Even in duplex mode, it's faster than the vast majority of colour MFPs we've tested, including recent models selling for much more.
Overall output quality was on the high side of average for a colour laser, with below-par text, excellent graphics, and typical photo quality. Text quality was still good enough for standard business needs short of desktop publishing.
Graphics quality was a shade below the best I've seen. Some black backgrounds weren't quite as dark as they could have been, but that was my only quibble. Graphics are good enough for reports or hand-outs going to people you're seeking to impress, as well as marketing materials.
Most of our test photos could pass as photographic prints when held at arm's length, and the others showed minor problems. Depending on how picky you are, they could be good enough for use in client newsletters.
The C3765dnf 's cost per printed page, including toner and other consumables, is 1.5 cents (0.95 pence) per monochrome page and 10 cents (6.25 pence) per colour page. Both figures are very good. The aforementioned Lexmark x548dte's running costs are a touch higher at 1.6 (1 pence) and 11 cents (6.9 pence) for black and white and colour respectively. And bear in mind that the Lexmark printer is no less than twice as expensive as the Dell offering in terms of retail price.
The Dell C3765dnf Colour Laser Printer provides a winning combination of speed, good output quality (especially for graphics), low cost per page, and MFP features. It stands out as a light to medium-duty colour laser MFP for small to medium businesses or workgroups, and is well worthy of our Best Buy award given its price and running costs.
Manufacturer and Device
Dell C3765dnf Colour Laser Printer
Direct Printing from Cameras
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)
Color or Monochrome
Scanner Optical Resolution
600 pixels per inch
Technology (for laser category only)