Single-function mono laser printers are having something of a revival at the moment, especially at the entry level for home user and small businesses. Dell has joined the trend and recently issued three new models, including the impressively low-cost B1260dn. Read more mono laser printer reviews.
Predictably square and compact, the Dell B1260dn does its best to appear unassuming in its all-black 348 x 338 x 197mm casing. It feels relatively robust however, weighing a decent 7.2kg with the toner installed. When in full flow it prints efficiently with no signs of paper jams.
As the two principal selling points for this model are price and speed, most of the features are designed with ease-of-use and basic functionality in mind. The controls, for instance, comprise a discreet column on the right side made up of warning lights for toner and status plus four buttons for power (nattily backlit in blue), stop, test print and Eco mode.
Connections on the Dell B1260dn are equally sparse – simply USB 2.0 port and ethernet. Although Dell obviously doesn't feel Wi-Fi is essential at this class, Samsung clearly disagrees as it's included it in the even cheaper ML-2955DW which we reviewed recently.
On the other hand, you can print from various mobile platforms via Dell Mobile Print, AirPrint or Google Cloud Print.
Storage capacity is a 250-sheet paper tray in the base plus a multipurpose drop-down tray at the front which can hold up to 10 sheets of varying thicknesses. This tray is frustratingly stiff to release and reconnect, though, so a more well-oiled design would be welcome. The 150-sheet output tray folds down from the top and is, by contrast, sublimely friendly.
Whether the Dell B1260dn is suitable for your purposes ultimately will be decided by your monthly printing volume. The monthly duty cycle here is 20,000 pages – around 1000 pages each working day.
You have a choice between a standard black toner cartridge of 1500 pages costing £51 (so 3.4p per page) or the higher yield 2500-page cartridge at £68 (2.72p per page).
Where you will save is on the up-front cost with a current street price of around £102. Print speeds are impressive at about 25ppm for text documents and 12ppm for auto-duplex copies.
Quality is also above average, with graphics in particular avoiding the common problem of being noticeably darker than the originals.