- Review Price: £198.58
The low-profile Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) on the top of the scanner lid can take up to 40 sheets of 75gsm paper and the lid hinges lift, so you can copy from books and other bound media, as well as from single sheets of paper. The counterbalance spring to the lid could be stronger, though, as on several occasions it closed itself when we were trying to position pages to copy.
The control panel runs the full width of the machine, in front of the scanner, and includes a 2-line by 16-character LCD display, without a backlight, but with enough contrast to be seen under normal overhead lighting. As well as three, illuminated mode buttons for fax, copy and scan, there’s a full numeric pad for fax dialling and Start and Stop buttons for copy, scan and fax jobs.
Although there are no single-click fax numbers, you can set up to 200 quick-dials in the machine’s address book. There are also two special-function buttons at the left-hand end of the control, one of which calls the reduction and enlargement functions, which offer useful scalings like A4 to A5 and A5 to A4, as well as more standard percentages.
There’s also the facility to print two-up or four-up, putting several A4 pages at reduced size onto an A4 sheet, which is useful for saving paper in archives. This function is handled separately from reduction and enlargement, though, which is a bit counter-intuitive.
The second special-function button enables both sides of an ID card to be scanned and printed on a single A4 sheet, which might be handy in very small HR departments. The main paper tray can take up to 250-sheets of plain paper and there’s a single-sheet feed slot for envelopes and special media, to supplement this. At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet, as well as for a phone line and an optional, third-party handset.
The single-piece drum and toner cartridge slots in from the front, after you’ve folded down the front panel, and is literally half a minute’s work. Dell provides drivers for Windows and OS X on the supplied CD and you can also download Linux drivers from the Dell site. Software includes a scan and fax manager, so you can preset where scanned documents will be saved.
Dell rates the 1135n at 22ppm, but our 5-page text document took 22 seconds to complete, which is only 13.6ppm. The 5-page text and graphics print was a little slower, too, at 12.0ppm. However, when we ran the 20-page test, it completed in one minute, four seconds, which is 18.8ppm, not that far off the spec. Subjectively, the machine is nippy, as both a printer and copier, with a single-page copy taking 16 seconds and a 5-page copy from the ADF completing in 25 seconds.
The heat from the laser engine caused a bit of a wave in pages as they came through and we received an ‘output bin full’ warning on longer documents, once after just 17 pages had printed. We used the same Staples Multiuse paper we use for all our printer tests and a 20-page document really isn’t that long.
Print quality from the machine in its main function, printing, is good, with clear, dense, black text, fine for general-purpose office documents. Greyscale business graphics are also well up to scratch, though the range of greyscales isn’t all it could be, so different colours may translate to very similar shades of grey.
Even photos reproduce reasonably well, with good levels of detail in lighters areas of images, though detail is lost in areas of shadow – a common problem for mono lasers.
Trying to copy a page that includes greyscale graphics is a problem. Areas of fill look very blotchy and shades come out much darker than in originals. You can compensate to some extent for the darkness, but the unevenness of fills appears to be a function of the scanner itself.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this effect and it seems to be a function of the contact image sensor scanner heads used increasingly in multifunction machines.
The drum and toner cartridge is available in 1,500 and 2,500-page variants and using the higher-capacity consumable, for better economy, gives a cost per page of 3.9p, including 0.7p for paper. This isn’t brilliant against some of its main rivals, which can cost over 1p per page less to run.
The 1135n is a neat, quick little multi-function machine, but like several of Dell’s other machines, is a rebadged Samsung machine. Comparing it with the Samsung SCX-4623F, the Dell works out around £55 more to buy and 1.1p per page more to run. Unless you have some particular affinity to Dell, or can get a better deal than from its direct sales channel, the Samsung alternative looks considerably better value.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 7
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