The Dell B3460dn falls definitively into the unexciting—but absolutely necessary—category of workhorse monochrome laser printers for small to medium-size offices and workgroups. It doesn’t offer any output options—like a finisher, stacker, or sorter—but it delivers fast speed and plenty of input capacity. For a small office that needs heavy-duty printing, it’s not only a potentially good fit, it offers enough to be Editors’ Choice.
Much like the Lexmark E462dtn that it replaces as Editors’ Choice, the B3460dn includes a duplexer (for two-sided printing) and a substantial input capacity, with a 550-sheet drawer and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray as standard. Unlike the Lexmark printer, it also lets you increase the capacity, with up to three additional 550-sheet paper drawers ($239.99 direct each for the standard version or $284.99 for the lockable version) for a total of 2,300 sheets. That’s more than ample for reasonably heavy-duty use by small to mid-size office standards.
Setup and Speed
Physically, the B3460dn is typical for its level of capability, measuring 12.1 by 15.7 by 15 inches (HWD), without the optional additional trays, and weighing 34.6 pounds. As you would probably expect, it includes an Ethernet connector. You can also add Wi-Fi as an option ($49.99 direct). Setting up the printer is standard fare. For my tests, I installed it on a wired network and ran the tests from a Windows Vista system.
The printer’s speed is one of its strongest features. Dell rates the engine at 50 pages per minute (ppm), which is the speed you should see when printing a text file with no formatting. I timed it on our tests (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at an effective 15.3 ppm, which makes it among the fastest printers we’ve tested. In comparison, the Lexmark E462dtn came in at 13.6 ppm, and the Editors’ Choice Lexmark T650n managed only 9.9 ppm.
As is common for fast laser printers, the B3460dn’s output quality isn’t anywhere near as impressive as its speed. It’s easily good enough for most business use, but it’s a touch below par overall. However, that’s primarily because of its photo quality, which won’t be an issue for most offices.
Text quality is at the low end of the range that includes the vast majority of mono lasers. That makes it a poor choice for high-quality desktop publishing applications, but for standard business needs, you shouldn’t have any issues with the text quality unless you have an unusual need for small fonts.
Graphics quality is par for a mono laser, which makes it easily good enough for internal business use. Whether you consider it good enough for, say, PowerPoint handouts going to important clients when you want to convey a sense of professionalism, depends on how critical an eye you have. The photo quality is good enough to print recognizable images from photos on Web pages, but most people wouldn’t consider it suitable for a client or company newsletter with photos.
Whatever the limitations of the output quality, the key point is that it’s good enough for most purposes, which means the Dell B3460dn earns lots of points for its speed and paper handling, and doesn’t lose any for its output quality. Also demanding mention is a low claimed running cost, at 1.6 cents per page. And it’s the overall balance of speed, output quality, paper handling, and running cost that makes the Dell B3460dn both an impressive beast and Editors’ Choice.
More Laser Printer Reviews:
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||50 ppm|
|Color or Monochrome||Monochrome|
|Technology (for laser category only)||Laser|
|Connection Type||USB, Ethernet|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc