Everything about the Dell C2665dnf color laser multifunction is top-notch: capacity, speed, output quality, and features. It's even got a classy new interface for its 4.3-inch touchscreen. At $630 it seems like a dream come true for any small workgroup. But if your office frequently prints in color, the toner prices will wake you up out of a sound sleep. The costs for black toner are somewhat better.
Printing from cloud services is a unique feature
The C2665dnf is tall, straight-angled and dark gray, but not so much ominous as handsome. The colorful touchscreen display features a brand-spanking new interface, with the 2D, flat look to its icons that's in vogue at the moment. It's easy to navigate, however, the scroll bars are thin and a hard to spot. Beyond that, the menu structure and controls are very well thought-out.
The C2665dnf is easy to set up and supports USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet. The software is minimal, and the driver is as well. Some of the Windows software has acquired the Windows 8 look, some has not, but it looks as if Dell is headed in that direction.
Paper handling features on the C2665dnf are top-notch, with a large 250-sheet input tray, a 150-sheet multi-purpose tray, automatic two-side printing (duplexing), as well as a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for the letter/A4-size scanner. There's an optional $186, 550-sheet, bottom-mounted cassette to expand capacity. The scanner will automatically scan two-sided documents and push-scan to PCs.
Secure printing is supported, as well as email and Wi-Fi printing. Dell's Document Hub lets you print documents directly from Skydrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and other online storage services with the surprising omission of iCloud. Drivers are available for the Mac, but that's about it. The C2665dnf also supports NFC printing, a new and still unusual way to pair a phone with a printer for direct sending of jobs. Owners of iOS devices should know that the C2665dnf is AirPrint compatible.
The C2665dnf is fast and then some. It blew through our monochrome pages in short order, spitting them out at 16.6 pages per minute on the PC and 16.1 ppm on the Mac. Snapshot-size (4-by-6-inch) photos printed at 4 per minute to plain paper and 3 per minute on glossy laser stock. Full-sized photos printed from the Mac took only 43 seconds apiece. Copies emerged at a lively 6.3 per minute. Scan speeds were middling, taking almost a minute to scan a full-page photo at 600 dpi and 24 seconds to scan a smaller, cropped section at 1200 dpi. On the other hand, the scans were better in quality than most we’ve seen.
The C2665dnf's output is impressive for a color laser printer. You expect the text to be crisp and sharp, but color graphics also excelled, seeming remarkably inkjet-like (that’s a good thing). The color temps are a bit warm, but there's little graininess and no banding defects. The C2665dnf will allow you to forgo a color inkjet as an adjunct unless you're heavily into photography.
Toner costs are high, especially color
Don't buy the C2665dnf unless you're going to print a lot, and you have the money to invest in the large capacity supplies. Even then, you're getting no bargain. The regular 1,200-page cartridges cost $77 per color (CMY) and $68 for black. That's a massive 19.2 cents per page total for the colors, and 5.7 cents for black. Nearly 25 cents for a four-color page puts the C2665dnf among the most expensively supplied printers we've reviewed, including $50 inkjets.
Fortunately, when you use the $141, 4,000-page color and $100, 3000-page black, this drops to 3.33 cents for black per page and 11.25 for the colors. A 14.5 cent four-color page is bearable, though hardly cheap. You can knock another cent off both those numbers if you opt for the $136, 6,000-page black cartridge. Every 60,000 pages or so you'll need a new set of drums to the tune of $150, or an additional 0.2 cents per page.
The c2665dnf is rated for a 50,000 sheet duty cycle, with real-world usage between 700 and 4000 sheets a month. The unit is warrantied for a single year, which is short for an office product. Optional support packages are available for up to five years at $360.
The Dell C2665dnf is feature-complete, fast, and a flat out pleasure to use. However, there will be no joy in Toner-ville when you strike out for new supplies.
Editor's note: Updated at 7:30 p.m. PT to note that the C2665dnf is AirPrint compatible.