Dell B5460dn review

The Dell B5460dn provides wicked-fast monochrome laser printing for busy workgroups in small to mid-sized offices.
Photo of Dell B5460dn

The Dell B5460dn is a monochrome laser printer built for high-volume printing in workgroups and mid-sized to larger offices. It offers a very good feature set for its price, good standard and optional paper capacity. In our testing it proved blazingly fast, and has very low running costs for a printer at its price. It’s a clear pick for Editors’ Choice as a heavy-duty monochrome laser printer.

The all-black B5460dn measures 16.3 by 20.2 by 16.7 inches and weighs 52 pounds. Centered in the front panel is a 2.4-inch non-touch LCD, controlled by 4 arrow keys with an OK button in the middle. There’s also an alphanumeric keypad for entering PINs for password-protected printing, among other functions.

It has a 650-sheet standard paper capacity, split between a 550-sheet main tray and a 100-sheet secondary tray, and an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. Its optional paper capacity includes a 2,100-sheet high-capacity tray ($1,150 direct) and up to 3 additional 550-sheet trays ($235 each) for a maximum paper capacity of 4,400 sheets. Optional mailbox, stacker, and finisher are also available, as is a 160GB encrypted hard drive ($400 direct).

The B5460dn provides USB and Ethernet connectivity; I tested it over an Ethernet connection with its drivers installed on a PC running Windows Vista. This printer also offers the ability to print from either Android or iOS devices with the appropriate version of the Dell Mobile print app.

Speed
I timed the Dell B5460dn tested printers on the latest version of our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at a lightning-fast 18.7 pages per minute (ppm). That’s worthy of its 63 page-per-minute rated speed, which is based on text-only printing; our test suite combines text pages, graphics pages, and pages with mixed content.

We timed the Editors’ Choice Dell B3460dn at 15.3 ppm. The Editors’ Choice HP LaserJet Enterprise 600 Printer M601DN ($899 direct, 4 stars), rated at 45 pages per minute, tested at 13.4 ppm, while the HP LaserJet Enterprise 600 Printer M603N ($1,499 direct, 4 stars), rated at 62 pages per minute, tested at 14.3 ppm.

Output Quality
Output quality was slightly sub-par overall, with par text quality, and slightly subpar graphics and photo quality. Text should be fine for any business need short of ones requiring very small fonts, such as desktop publishing.

Graphics quality was slightly sub-par for a mono laser. For the most part they looked pretty good, but it had trouble distinguishing between gradations in light and dark tones in one illustration, showing them as a uniformly dark shade instead. It also didn’t do well printing very thin black lines on a white background, as they came out broken in places. Still, the graphics are fine for any internal business use, and perhaps for PowerPoint handouts, though you might want to check the output first to be sure.

Photo quality was slightly below par. Prints tended to be on the dark side, and there was significant loss of detail particularly in some dark areas. Prints also showed dithering (graininess and in some cases dot patterns). You can print out recognizable images from files and Web pages, but you probably wouldn’t want to use the prints for a company newsletter.

Running Costs
Claimed running costs for the Dell B5460dn are a penny a page, among the lowest we’ve seen for a mono laser at any price. The HP LaserJet M601dn’s per-page costs were 1.7 cents, while the Dell B3460dn’s claimed running costs were 1.6 cents. Even the more expensive HP M603n had higher running costs, at 1.2 cents per page. These may seem like small differences, but with high-volume printing they can add up quickly.

The Dell B5460dn has the same standard 650-sheet paper capacity as the Dell B3460dn, but while the B5460dn has options to bring the paper capacity up to a 4,400-sheet total, the B3460dn, geared to somewhat smaller offices, maxes out at 2,300 sheets. Both the HP LaserJet M601DN and M603N have 600-sheet standard paper capacity and options to bring the total capacity up to 3,600 sheets. The M603N lacks an auto-duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper, however.

The Dell B5460dn is a formidable monochrome laser printer whose blazing speed and low running costs set it apart from other machines in its price class. It has prodigious standard and optional paper capacity. Like many other mono lasers, its overall output quality isn’t terrific, but it should be fine for standard business use. It’s a clear pick as Editors’ Choice as a high-speed, high-capacity monochrome laser for busy workgroups and mid-sized to larger offices.

Specifications
Print Duplexing Automatic
Printer Category Laser
Maximum Standard Paper Size Legal
Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono) 63 ppm
Type Printer Only
Color or Monochrome Monochrome
Technology (for laser category only) Laser
Connection Type USB, Ethernet

Verdict
The Dell B5460dn provides lightning-fast laser printing for busy workgroups in mid-sized to larger offices.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc