Dell 1815dn review: Dell 1815dn

If you use Dell's Network Scan utility, you can scan a document to your networked computer as a JPEG, a TIFF, or a PDF. You can also send out scans via e-mail directly from the printer. In addition, if you plug in a USB flash thumbdrive to the front-mounted USB 1.1 port, you can scan directly to the key. (You can also print directly from the USB drive: Uuse the control panel to select the Print From option and navigate through the files and folders on the drive. This feature supports TIFF, BMP, TXT, PDF, and PRN files.)

Faxing presents another host of options. You can set it up so that outgoing and incoming faxes are automatically sent to certain e-mail addresses, or set up a secure receive option, which will not print your incoming faxes until you enter a passcode, handy for secure transmissions. You can also hook the printer up to an answering machine, and the printer will assess the incoming call signal to determine whether it's a fax or a phone call. Phone calls will go through to the answering machine (and the telephone) and faxes will be received by the 1815dn.

Strangely enough, the Dell 1815dn printed grayscale graphics (20.01ppm) faster than it did black text (17.75ppm). The similarly priced Canon ImageClass MF5750 clocked 14.80ppm for black text and 16.11ppm for grayscale graphics. The 1815dn printed our PowerPoint presentation at an impressive 17.87ppm. It scanned color documents at 4.86ppm and grayscale documents at 4.85ppm, both faster than the Canon MF5750. The Dell 1815dn rocked the copy test, spitting out copies at 12.29ppm.

The Dell 1815dn excelled at black print quality. Even at 2.5 points, the black text was legible. Looked at under a loupe, the letters were clean and the edges were crisp. The printer handled grayscale prints decently, though it couldn't escape the dithering that plagues laser printers when printing halftones. The 1815dn also handled grayscale scans decently but was less successful with color scans. The colors appeared washed-out on the screen, and what should've been light gray lines disappeared altogether. In both the grayscale and the color scans, the scanner couldn't capture details in either the shadows or the highlights.

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