There aren't many multi-function, black-and-white laser printers available at a bargain price. This means the Dell 1133 hasn't got much competition, and is a good purchase for punters on a budget. It's available now for around £165.
Big black box
The 1133 looks quite chic for a category of product that's normally aesthetically drab. It's practical and functional, but sports a deep black finish and a pleasing texture.
The 250-page input tray sits near the bottom of the unit, and the 80-page output tray resides near the top. The lid has a bulbous shape to accommodate the scanner. Below the scanner lid sits an array of controls, including a comprehensive LCD display, and a four-way navigation pad with a return button in the middle. We found this a cinch to use, thanks to the well-laid-out menu system.
Don't use that toner with me
To cut costs, Dell hasn't included a USB cable, and there's no automatic document feeder or auto-duplexing feature. There's no network connectivity either, which is a vexing omission in a printer designed for small businesses.
Opening up the lid is simple enough if you need to fix a paper jam, although we never had this problem. Doing so reveals an easily accessible combined toner and drum cartridge. Dell bundles only a 700-page cartridge, which is tight in a printer designed for heavy workloads.
At least the company offers a higher-capacity toner cartridge for around £74, though. This should print 2,500 pages at an operating cost of just under 3p per page. If you want to keep your running costs down, you should definitely buy the higher-capacity cartridge, especially if you intend to give this machine a serious workout.
Actually, this printer is more likely to give you a serious workout, as it's a beast to carry. At over 10kg, you'll need a couple of slaves to move it if you don't want to break your back. Fortunately, it feels very robust, so it shouldn't break if you knock it around.