If you're short on space and you don't need extra features like copying and scanning, the Dell 1130 could be a good option. It's one of a batch of smaller monochrome laser printers hitting the market, and it promises rapid printing, even though it only costs a modest £70 or so.
Design-wise, there isn't much to the 1130. It has a small footprint of just 360 by 390mm. Its matte black paint job doesn't exactly draw attention to itself, but it should stand up to a fair amount of abuse over the years without showing up loads of bumps and scratches.
As with many budget laser printers, the 1130 doesn't have a screen. Instead it only has two LED lights -- a green one to indicate when it's ready to print and a red one to tell you that it's in a spot of bother.
Similarly, there are just two buttons on the control panel -- a blue power button and a red cancel button. As most of us only really interact with our printers via the software control panel on our computers, this isn't much of an issue.
Setting up this model is a piece of cake. There's no Wi-Fi or Ethernet support, so the only way to connect it your computer is via USB. Before you install the printer's software, you need to give its toner and drum cartridge a shake to make sure the toner is evenly distributed. Then it's simply a matter of placing the cartridge in the slot in the belly of the beast. Once that's done, you can load the printer drivers and connect the USB cable.
As with most of today's monochrome laser models, this one has a pull-out paper feeder at the bottom that can hold up to 250 sheets. Above this, there's a single-sheet slot that can be used for non-standard paper sizes, such as envelopes and flyers.
Printed material gets fed into a tray at the top that is angled into the body of the chassis. There's also a flip-up paper stopper, so that sheets don't accidentally slide off the top and onto the floor.
There are only really three things you need this type of printer to get right -- speed, print quality and running costs. Thankfully, the 1130 manages to tick all of these boxes.
This model uses a single cartridge that includes both the drum and toner well, so you only have a single consumable to replace when it runs out of ink. Cartridges are available in two sizes. The standard one can be used to print up to 1,500 pages, while the high-capacity one will keep going for around 2,500 sheets.
Using the high-capacity cartridge, printing costs work out at around 3.4p per page, which isn't bad for an entry-level machine. It's slightly cheaper to run than the similarly priced Samsung ML-1865W and only a smidgen more expensive than the Brother HL-2240.
Print speeds are fairly quick by the standards of budget laser printers. The 1130 took 44 seconds to produce our ten-page black and white text document, and 45 seconds to deliver ten copies of our black and white graphics document. It was slightly slower when printing our ten-page business presentation, but still managed to complete it in a very respectable 56 seconds.
There really isn't much to complain about when it comes to the quality of this model's print output. As with most laser printers, it produces very crisp text -- it's much cleaner than that which you'll get from even the best inkjet models.
Budget laser printers sometimes struggle when it comes to printing graphics, but this one puts in a good performance. Areas of grey fill are impressively free of banding and show a nice gradient between different shades. Even pictures retain plenty of sharp detail.
The Dell 1130 is a charming little monochrome laser printer. It produces good text and graphics output and it's fast, too. Crucially, it's also economical to run. Our only misgiving is that, for around £10 more, you can buy the Samsung ML-1865W, which includes Wi-Fi support and, consequently, may be more convenient for some users.
Edited by Charles Kloet