Paper documents still play an important part in any business, and an All-In-One (AIO) or multifunction printer still reigns as an essential small business workhorse that handles printing, copying, scanning and faxing.
Dell's latest AIO Laser printer, the B1165nfw, proves affordable enough to have one reside on each employee's desk. At the very least, it brings simplicity, speed and low operational costs to small business printing.
A Closer Look: The Dell B1165nfw Laser Multifunction
At just $199, Dell’s latest monochrome multifunction laser printer provides very good value, especially considering its feature set. Dell rates the unit at 21 ppm (pages per minute) and claims the unit can output as many as 20,000 pages per month, indicating the B1165nfw is designed to take a beating, despite its inexpensive design.
Figure 1: The affordable, easy-to-use Dell B1165nfw Mono Laser Multifunction Printer.
As a multifunction printer, the B1165nfw can print and fax from, as well as scan to, your PC over a wireless network. The unit also works as a standalone copier and fax machine, meaning that you don’t have to fire up a PC to make a quick copy or to send a fax.
Although rated for 20,000 pages per month, this AIO is not intended for businesses with high-volume printing needs. Dell recommends a more realistic monthly duty cycle of 150 to 750 pages, which should be more than enough printing capacity for a home or small office (SOHO) environment.
Small business operators will appreciate the printer's easy setup, especially if they use Windows 7 or Windows 8. All you need is a power outlet to get started—no network cables required. The B1165nfw connects via Wi-Fi and includes an "easy installer" application on the included CD (and available from Dell’s website). With the PC connected to the Internet and the printer turned on, the fully automated installation takes four mouse clicks. You don’t have to input Wi-Fi information, manually download drivers or perform any other manual tasks normally associated with setting up a printer.
Print quality on inexpensive photocopy paper is very good, especially for documents, basic presentations and charts/graphs. The printer meets it claims of 21 ppm when printing straight text—complex graphics slows it down a bit. Of course, most offices will only occasionally use a black-and-white printer for presentations or graphics, tasks that are better suited for color printers anyway.
As an entry level model, the B1165nfw's paper handling and other options are limited. For example, the unit does not support automated duplexing and there's no "add-on" duplexer available for the device. That means if you want to print on both sides of a page, you have to manually flip the pages over for processing.
Basic paper capacity is just 150 pages; however that should be more than adequate for a small office. A built-in 40-page automatic document feeder on top of the unit accommodates larger copying, faxing and scanning jobs. Dell enhances the B1165nfw's scanning capabilities by including Nuance PaperPort v14 software, which lets you convert scanned documents into text (that you can then edit) using OCR technology.
Small Business Printer Specs: Dell B1165nfw Mono Laser Multifunction
- 4-in-1 monochrome laser: print, scan, copy and fax
- Print speeds: up to 21 ppm
- Print resolution: up to 1,200 x 1,200 dpi
- 40-sheet automatic document feeder
- 433 MHz processor with 128MB of memory standard
- Mobile printing: Google Cloud Print, AirPrint, Dell Mobile Print App
- Monthly duty cycle: up to 20,000 pages
- Paper capacity: 150 sheets
- Connectivity: USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
- Operating systems: Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
- 1-year limited warranty
- 1,500 page toner cartridge sells for $59.99
- MSRP $199
Dell Mobile Printing Capabilities
The Dell B1165nfw also supports printing from a multitude of mobile devices and services, such as Google Cloud Print for printing over the Internet, and AirPrint for MAC/iOS devices. Dell also bundles its own app for Android devices for printing over a Wi-Fi connection. The printer also enhances mobile device support with Wi-Fi Direct. It 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.
While the B1165nfw may not solve all of your small business printing problems, it reduces technical angst while offering a level of economy that's hard to come by with other printers today. However, options such as a duplexer, USB/Memory slot (for printing from removable media) and extended-life toner cartridges would go a long way toward making the B1165nfw the perfect monochrome laser printer for small offices.
Frank Ohlhorst is an award-winning technology journalist, professional speaker and IT business consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the technology arena. He has written for ComputerWorld, TechTarget, PCWorld, ExtremeTech, Tom's Hardware, Entrepreneur, Forbes and BNET. Ohlhorst was also the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek and former director of the CRN Test Center.
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