If you've complained for years that laser printers cost a fortune and you've found that refilling the cartridges on your inkjet machine also gnaws a hole in your pocket, the Dell Laser Printer 1100 might attract you. It targets home users and tiny offices that print text and black-and-white graphics. This streamlined, low-slung white machine is available from Dell for £81, but you'll have to shell out another £13 for a USB cable if you want to connect it to your computer.
Dell estimates a fast print speed of 14 pages per minute (ppm). If it performs close to that estimate, the Dell 1100 should please home users and students. The Dell 1700n, the HP LaserJet 1022 and the Brother HL-5140 are a bit zippier, but they're much more expensive. The Dell 1100's 150MHz processor is more muscular than that of the similar-looking Samsung ML-1740, which prints text at 12.98ppm. Dell's toner cartridge costs £45 and has an estimated 2,000-page life span, but we've learned to take such vendor specs with a grain of salt. Print costs work out at about 2.5p per page.
The list price of this Dell is making a splash in the market, but keep in mind that you should pay a bit more if you need extras such as automated two-sided printing or you're looking for a workgroup workhorse. This printer doesn't work with Macs, and there's no built-in networking potential. The 1100's 600x600dpi resolution is average for a device in its class, but we're not confident that the skimpy 2MB of RAM can swiftly manage images or fancy fonts -- most budget lasers carry at least 8MB. Don't be seduced by the price tag if you plan to subject this printer to heavy use.
Bargain hunters on the prowl for a monochrome printer will be intrigued by the Dell Laser Printer 1100. We expect to see this model populating student accommodation this autumn, and its superlow price may spark rival vendors to drop prices on their entry-level laser printers. We'll report back soon, once we've checked out the 1100's performance in our tests.
Edited by Lara Luepke
Additional editing by Nick Hide