Dell B1160 Laser Printer
Fast; compact; affordable
Running costs are higher than an inkjet printer
The price of laser printers has fallen dramatically in the last couple of years, and Dell’s B1160 is one of the most compact and affordable models we’ve seen so far.
Priced at just $89 for online buyers, this 600dpi mono laser printer is easily affordable for small business users or people who work from home. It measures a mere 178mm high, 331mm wide and 215mm deep, so you can easily fit it onto your desk or a nearby shelf without taking up too much space.
It only has a USB interface, though, so you will need to keep the printer close to your Mac (and you have to supply your own USB cable too, unfortunately). However, there is a Wi-Fi model called the B1160w also available for $109.
The B1160 comes with a ‘starter’ toner cartridge that should print up to 700 pages, but proper replacement cartridges work out to be typically higher that you’ll get from most comparably priced inkjet printers. And, of course, an inkjet printer will allow you to print in colour, and possibly include additional features such as scanning and copying too.
The advantage of the B1160, though, is that its black-and-white printing is much, much faster than an inkjet printer. Most inkjet printers below $150 will struggle to print eight pages per minute (ppm) in black and white. The B1160 doesn’t quite reach Dell’s estimate of 20ppm, but it did churn out our Word test documents at a snappy 17ppm.
Print quality was very good, producing smooth, crisply defined text, and its rating of 10,000 pages per month should be more than adequate for most small businesses. Our only real complaint is that the output tray – supposedly having a capacity of 100 A4 sheets – seemed to get rather cluttered when holding only a couple of dozen sheets.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
Colour inkjet printers are more versatile than mono lasers, and will still the best option for many people. However, the B1160 is a good option for small businesses and home workers who need a fast, mono printer for producing letters and reports on a daily basis.