Billed as “the world’s smartest colour multifunction printer”, Dell’s C2665dnf delivers most of what you might expect in a multifunction colour laser but with a few of extras. One of those is the ability to tap and print from a Windows 8.1 tablet using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. The other, Dell’s new Document Hub service, lets you upload scans and convert them to editable documents in the cloud, plus print out documents direct from leading cloud-based storage services.
It’s A Printer
With a starting price of £379 (ex. VAT), the C2665dnf is, first and foremost, a sturdy colour laser capable of printing A4 600dpi documents at up to 27 pages per minute. Duplexing comes as standard and, with the ability to handle up to a recommended 4,000 pages/month, the C2665dnf is equally at home being used as the sole printer in a small company or as a departmental workhorse in larger enterprises.
The main consumables are four colour toner cartridges which simply stack into place at the front of the unit. A starter set (rated at 1,200 pages) is included with the printer with same-size replacements costing £49 (ex. VAT) each. Most buyers, however, will opt for high-capacity (4,000 page) cartridges which, for the colours, come in at £121 (ex. VAT) each, plus £64 and £103 respectively for 3,000 and 6,000 page black refills.
Based on toner alone, mono prints could cost as little as 1.7p each and colour around 11p per page but there are a few other items to factor in when working out the full cost of ownership. Such as the need for a pack of replacement image drums every 55K pages (£94 ex. VAT), a maintenance kit every 100K (£102 ex. VAT) and the odd fuser and waste toner bottle here and there. Not huge amounts but necessary.
On the paper side there’s a single 250-sheet A4 drawer backed up by the usual multi-purpose feeder (150 sheets) and an optional 500-sheet second drawer which can be added for £161 (ex. VAT). You’ll also find a USB port and Gigabit Ethernet interface built in plus the much-vaunted NFC “Tap and Print” support.
However, it’s worth noting that this only works with Windows 8.1 devices and to add more popular Wi-Fi capabilities to handle Android and iOS devices, for example, will cost a further £93 (ex. VAT) for an external plug-in adapter.
Print quality is good enough for most business requirements although, with just 600dpi to play with, don’t expect fantastic photo reproduction. Print speeds too are more than adequate when handling output from common business applications.
It’s A Scanner, Copier, Fax & More
A 50-sheet document feeder sits on top, enabling it to act as both a scanner and copier. A robust unit capable of handling a variety of paper weights, this allows documents to be scanned double-sided, however, it’s not the quickest we’ve seen and does require multiple passes as there’s only one scan head. You can also scan to multiple destinations (PC, USB, Email, network folder etc.) and to the cloud, about which, more shortly.
A 4.3-inch colour touchscreen is used to drive the C2665dnf with swipe, drag and drop support to mimic the interface found on smartphones and tablets. This makes light work of managing the printer enabling walk-up scanning/copying plus secure printing where users have to key in a 4-digit PIN before documents sent to the printer can be released.
The colour screen also lets you connect to the cloud-based Dell Document hub, the other extra hinted at in the “world’s smartest” claim. Available free until the end of March 2014, this online service lets you scan in documents and have them converted to editable files using OCR software running on Dell cloud servers.
More than that it can be used to aggregate together and act as a portal to access popular cloud storage services such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox.
Using this portal you can save scanned documents to your cloud service and, more importantly, search for documents across cloud services, plus preview and print them directly from the C2665dnf without the need for a PC, tablet or smartphone.
Jack Of All Trades, Plus Some…
In its smart charcoal grey livery, Dell’s C2665dnf looks every inch a business product and as a printer is a fast, robust colour laser capable of delivering more than acceptable output at an affordable price. The lack of built-in Wi-Fi is a little surprising but can be rectified at minimal cost while the NFC support is nice to have albeit something of a novelty at present.
It also works well as a multifunction device and would be a good choice if looking for a small business all-in-one. A single-pass duplex scanner would enhance the scan/copy/fax features but that would push the price up and for companies looking to capture large numbers of documents a faster custom scanner is arguably a better buy.
And lastly there’s the Dell Document hub – an intriguing option, especially given the trend towards using the cloud to both share and store documents by all manner of businesses. The fact that Dell has opted to integrate together existing cloud services rather than force customers to a service of its own is a wise move and the implementation on the C2665dnf seems to work well.
On the downside it is the only printer, so far, to offer this support and, although an app is available to go with the Document Hub, at present you’re limited to Windows 8/8.1 running on either a PC or tablet.
Add to all this the fact that you’ll need to pay an, as yet, unspecified amount to use the Dell Document Hub after March 2014 and you can see why we might recommend caution. It’s a nice idea and free for now, but needs more work if it is to become something printer buyers put at the top of their shopping lists. In the meantime buyers should consider the C2665dnf as a multi-function colour laser and treat the “extras” as just that.