One of the reasons for the apparently high price of the 3335dn is its rated speed. Dell pitches the Lexmark-made machine at 38ppm and we got somewhere close to this under test. Our five-page text document returned 21.4ppm in both normal and draft modes and, coincidentally, this is what the text and business graphics test also produced. A 15 x 10cm photo on an A4 sheet came through in 27s.
On the longer, 20-page text document, it reached 32.4ppm, which is a very good throughput for a desktop multifunction. When it comes to duplex printing, a standard feature of the print engine, the 3335dn only manages about half the top speed, at 16.7 sides per minute. Even this speed though should mean many documents can be economically printed double-sided.
When it comes to copying, the machine can produce a single page from the flatbed in 15s, which is quick. More impressive, though, is the time of 19s for a five-page document from the ADF. Since the ADF can scan duplex, we also ran our 5-page, 10-side duplex copy, which completed in 59s.
Print quality is very good on text. A standard mode print is 600dpi, ‘enhanced’ to 1,200dpi, which is enough to remove jagged edges from curves and diagonals. Greyscale graphics are reasonably smooth, though some grey shades come out too similar to distinguish between different colours in an original.
Also, typical of many current scanners, scanning greyscales produces very blotchy fill patterns, which aren’t pretty. Our photo test piece was fair, though areas of shadow reproduced black.
One thing you should bear in mind is that the scanner has a maximum resolution of 600 x 300ppi when scanning colour, so you might have problems if trying to scan a photo for enlargement.
Using the higher yield toner cartridge and sourcing toner and drum from different suppliers gives a best case cost per page of 2.2p, including 0.7p for paper. This is a good, low cost, though that’s to be expected in a machine at this price.
If you need a fast, hard working multifunction machine which can print, scan and copy double-sided documents, Dell’s 3335dn certainly fits the bill. You pay a lot for a faster machine, but in this case the extra speed is close to what it says on the box. We’re not sure the large touch panel is entirely necessary, but it’s certainly easy to use and should make training quick.