Dell claims speeds of 15ppm in black and 12ppm in colour, but we didn’t see these speeds under test. Our five-page black text document took 41 seconds to print, a speed of 7.3ppm, while the 20-page test gave 10.2ppm, the fastest speed we saw.
The five-page text and colour graphics print clocked up 6.5ppm, barely half of the speed on the spec sheet. A single page colour copy took 44s, while a five-page black text copy from the ADF took 48s. 15 x 10cm photos took 30s from a PC and 23s from a USB drive, plugged into the front-panel socket.
Print quality is very good. Black text is dense and sharp, with the printer’s 600dpi resolution being enough to keep characters free of any jaggies. Colour graphics are also bright and solid, with colour fills vivid and attention getting. Even photo printing is fair, with smooth colour variations in areas of sky and detail visible in hard to reproduce darker, shadowed areas.
The only place the printer falls down is in colour copies, most probably a function of the machine’s 1,200ppi scanner. Solid areas of colour are pale and blotchy and there’s some haloing of black characters over coloured backgrounds. Reversed text suffers from the same blotchiness in the black background.
The four toner cartridges are the only consumables in the machine, so you might expect it to be relatively cheap to run. However, this depends on the price attached to the toner and, at the cheapest price we could find, page costs are 4.1p for black print and 18.3p for colour, including 0.7p for paper.
Both these are high, with black print being over a penny more per sheet than, for example, the similarly-priced Canon i-SENSYS MF8080BCw. The colour cost, though, is a full 7p per page higher, so you really will pay for the colour pages you print on this machine.
It’s quite difficult to see how the Dell C1765nfw differs from the earlier 1355cnw. It has the same design, speed and feature set, except that the new machine should be able to take print directly from a mobile device. In our tests, though, Dell Mobile Print for Android doesn’t detect the printer, so removing the advantage. Currently, the 1355cnw is available online for £175, over £60 cheaper than this machine, though with the same high running costs. Go figure.