- Review Price: £163.33
Dell sells many printers, as they fit in well with the company’s sales of business and consumer PCs. By and large they’re good machines, too, but they’re not made by, or even designed by, Dell. They’re made for the company by specialist printer makers like Lexmark and Samsung, and many will have only slight adaptations from the versions sold by the original manufacturers.
The 1133 is a mono laser multifunction printer designed for the small office. It’s textured black casing with high-gloss borders looks neat and functional and the full-width control panel provides plenty of space for display and controls. There’s a 2-line by 16-character LCD display, a square of navigation keys with an OK button in the centre, three different function keys and three larger buttons to start, stop and switch off the machine.
The function keys provide print enlargements, scan facilities and a special function to scan both sides of an identity card and print it out on a single sheet – useful in human resource departments.
Below the control panel is an exit slot for printed documents and the scanner section of the machine lifts up slightly, so you can get your hand inside in case of paper jams. There’s a small extension and flip-up paper stop, but in practice you probably won’t need this. At the top, the scanner lid has an extending hinge, so you can scan pages from books as well as single sheets.
At the base of the front panel is a 250-sheet paper tray with a single-sheet multi-purpose feed directly above this. The tray capacity is fine for the kind of use the 1133 is intended for and the multifunction slot is a useful extra. When printing, though, the machine can curl the paper slightly and it started to register a full output tray after printing just 20 pages in a single job.
At the back, there’s a single USB socket, as this machine comes with no Ethernet connection. There’s no mention of a Dell print server, either, so you would have to look to a third-party if you need network functionality. Drivers are provided for Windows, OS X and various Linux distributions, including RedHat. The Samsung utility SmarThru 4 is provided to handle basic scan and print jobs from a Windows screen.
The printer takes a single-piece drum and toner cartridge, which slots in from the front, once you’ve pulled down the front cover. Cartridges are available in 1,500 and 2,500 page capacities, though the machine is supplied with a slightly stingy 700-page ‘starter’ cartridge.
Dell rates the 1133 at 22ppm, though under test we saw just over half this from our 5-page text document. If printing from sleep mode, there’s also a 14 second warm-up before printing starts.
Moving to the 20-page document, the speed increased to 15.6ppm, still some way short of the headline figure and the 5-page text and graphics document returned a speed of 13.6ppm. A single page copy took 26 seconds, which again isn’t that speedy and a 15 x 10cm photo print on an A4 sheet took 15 seconds.
The print quality is pretty good throughout. Black text is sharp and clean and even characters in small point sizes are well-formed. Greyscale graphics are a bit variable, with some noticeable banding and blotchiness in the darker shades. There’s enough variation between greys, though, to distinguish easily between different colours in an original.
Photographic images show the same banding in areas of smooth grey, such as skies, and darker areas tend towards black. In between, detail levels are not bad when using the printers enhanced 1,200dpi print mode.
Dell doesn’t quote a noise level for the 1133, but we measured it at peaks of 61dBA, which looks noisier than it sounds, subjectively.
Dell sells two versions of the drum and toner cartridge, at £56 and £74 so, as usual, the higher capacity, 2,500-page variant produces the cheapest page cost. We calculate a page at 3.78p, including 0.7p for paper.
This works out at 0.6p per page more expensive than from the Samsung SCX-4600. Comparison with this machine is relevant, as the SCX-4600 is very similar to the 1133, but costs less to buy and is noticeably cheaper to run.
Many printer makers rebadge machines from other suppliers and there’s nothing wrong with this, if they’re good machines like Dell’s 1133. The problem arises when the original manufacturer’s machine offers a better deal than the rebadge. Samsung’s SCX-4600 is largely the same machine, but also has a single-button screen print function as a useful built-in extra. It’s also around £60 (35 per cent) cheaper and costs less to run. If you’ll have an easier time with your finance department specifying Dell, go for the 1133. If not, you can save real money by opting for the Samsung.
Score in detail
Print Speed 7
Print Quality 8
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