Dell Laser Printer 1100 review: Dell Laser Printer 1100

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The Good Low price; good-quality text and graphics prints; adequate speed; Dell recycles your old printer if you replace it with the 1100.

The Bad Windows only; warranty is for 90 days only; ships with a starter-capacity toner cartridge; exposed paper tray; can't add memory or networking.

The Bottom Line This is a decent first laser printer for a student or a writer, and it would make a good companion to a photo inkjet or an all-in-one.

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6.5 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Support 6

Dell Laser Printer 1100

The Dell Laser Printer 1100 is a home-office bargain, providing good-quality text and graphics printing at a decent speed. While we take our hats off to Dell for dropping the official price below $100, figure in another $50 for a USB cable and extending the 1100's warranty from 90 days to one year. This isn't the only bargain laser printer on the block, so if you don't mind spending more up front for a full year's warranty and an enclosed paper tray, take a look at the Samsung ML-1740. Check out the Okidata Oki B4250 for faster speeds or the Brother HL-2040 if you need a machine for your Mac.

The bright white and soft gray Dell Laser Printer 1100 weighs only 12 pounds and takes up about as much space as a jumbo toaster oven. It measures a small 16 by 1 by 8.5 inches (LWH) with the trays extended. One drawback: the input paper tray of the Dell 1100 remains open, which exposes sheets to dust. Atop the printer there's capacity for 50 sheets of outgoing paper alongside an easy-to-use control panel. One button signals the printer to feed or cancel jobs, and two LEDs flash if the printer is busy or jammed. Behind the printer's main door, the toner cartridge offers a long handle for smooth installation and removal; open the machine's top cover to clear paper jams. The Dell Laser Printer 1100 is easy to install once you buy a USB cable; just follow the setup poster to connect this printer to your PC, then let the drivers self-load.

This printer's 600x600dpi resolution is average for a device in its class, and the 150MHz processor bests that of the Samsung ML-1740. Other introductory lasers come with 8MB of RAM to manage images and multiple fonts, but the small 2MB of RAM limit the Dell 1100 to personal use, such as printing text, spreadsheets, and low-priority grayscale graphics.

Unfortunately, the 1100 comes with a small 1,000-page "starter" toner cartridge, which you'll need to replace with a $65 standard black toner cartridge built to last 2,000 pages. At that rate, a page of text will cost you about 3.3 cents per page--high for a laser printer. By comparison, the $150 Brother HL-2040 prints a page of text for 2.4 cents, and the Samsung ML-1740 for 2.7 cents--according to vendor estimates.