A colour, duplex, multifunction laser printer is still a fairly rare beast, but Dell's 2145cn is intended for day-to-day office print, copy, scan and fax, as well as printing from the USB port on its front panel. It can do all these things in duplex mode, printing and scanning both sides of the paper in a single operation.
This is a very substantial machine, weighing in at 36kg with its four drum and toner cartridges installed. It's tall, too, and could be awkward to use on a desktop, particularly if the optional 500-sheet second paper tray is installed. Even with the standard 250-sheet tray, the control panel can be difficult to read if you're short.
There's a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) at the top and this device is capable of feeding pages through back and forwards, to scan the back-sides of duplex pages.
The control panel in front of the ADF is sensibly laid out and focuses around a 2-line by 16-character, backlit LCD display. To the right of this are buttons for contrast, enlargement and duplexing, a number pad for fax dialling and three buttons for black and colour copies and job cancel. To the left of the display are a total of 30 quick-dial numbers and behind it are three mode buttons for fax, copy and scan.
The output tray, set directly below the control panel, is a narrow slot not offering much scope for clearing paper jams from the laser engine built-in below. It's a good job the whole of the scanner section hinges up from the back, as this gives good access to the paper path. A 100-sheet multipurpose tray folds down from the front cover, to take special media.
Fold down the whole of the front cover and you can get at the four, vertically-mounted slots which takes the combined drum and toner cartridges. These all slide in easily and even the ones in the box are good for 2,000 pages each - 2,500 pages in the case of black.
The control software installs easily and the machine supports both PCL 6 and PostScript Level 3. It will work under Windows 2000 and later, Mac OSX 10.3 and above and several variants of Linux, including Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE and Fedora.