Review: Dell C3765dnf Workgroup Color Printer

Dell C3765dnf Workgroup Color Printer

There's a reason why the Dell C3765dnf Workgroup Color Printer looks and acts just like the Xerox Work Centre 6605; Xerox manufactures both machines. Dell puts a black case on its machine and -- for better or for worse -- supplies some of its own software.

First, we'll review the printer's hardware characteristics. Like its Xerox counterpart, Dell's 3765 is a sturdy, all-purpose color laser printer with Adobe PostScript that also handles the scanning, copying and faxing requirements of small and medium-sized companies and departments. It delivers a maximum print rate of 36 pages per minute black and color output, has a rated duty cycle of 80,000 pages per month and lists for $1,099 with a duplex unit for two-sided printing.

Also like its sibling, Dell's printer arrives with its CMYK toner cartridges preinstalled and ready to go. An illustrated "placemat" provides a step-by-step guide for setting up the unit and getting the software installation process started. There's also a multilingual guide to the control panel. Neither of these documents were helpful, however, when the printer wouldn't save and apply changes to network settings entered through the control panel. The solution for that was to enter the network settings we wanted through the control panel and then initialize the printer to its default settings, which then saves those network settings. This seemed unintuitive, but it worked.

Dell's driver and utility installation software also proved frustrating. The company provides drivers for Linux, Mac OS X, Unix and Windows (including Win8 and RT), but Dell's installation tools cater mostly to Windows. Still there were issues. The setup software didn't detect the printer until we manually entered its IP address. After a restart, the printer utility again was unable to detect the printer and crashed several times. Setting up the printer on Mac OS X was worse. All tolled, it took testers more than an hour to install drivers and prepare the test machines for printer tests.

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NEXT: Print Speed And Quality Now that we've thoroughly trounced the company for its mediocre setup software, we can cover what's good about the Dell C3765dnf Workgroup Color Printer. Because like the Xerox version, this machine is built like a Sherman tank, and is designed for the rigors of hard, everyday use.

One feature we particularly liked for the office was its job display. When printing a job, the 3765's backlit color LCD touch panel shows the application and file name of the print job along with the current page and total pages in the job. And it beeps at the finish of each job. Testers also were impressed with the time to first page, which ranged between 8 and 11 seconds, just about the time it takes to walk over and pick up the pages. Dell's color MFP turned out 36 text pages in 1:08 minutes, including a time to first page of 11 seconds. Speed for color printing was slower, but quality was excellent, with continuous tones, lifelike fleshtones and no banding or dithering.

Software behind the control panel presents the same logical and intuitive interface as the Xerox version, with large, dedicated software buttons for the most common functions of copy, fax and scan, surrounded by a hardware numerical keypad and other keys for accessing printer status, cancelling a job and so on. Before scanning, the machine prompts for a destination for saving or emailing scanned images.

Dell adds to this (as does Xerox) an Address Book Editor, which permits email addresses and server information to be entered from a Mac or Windows machine (manually or through LDAP) for quick access at the printer. Files can be scanned to a network folder via SMB or FTP, emailed or saved as a PDF, JPG or TIFF to a local USB drive. A USB 2.0 port on the front panel also accepts input for direct printing. For remote and mobile-device printing, the company offers the Dell Mobile Print for Android and endorses the ThinXtreme version for iOS.

The Dell C3765dnf Workgroup Color Printer prints and copies at a maximum resolution of 600 x 600 (for printing, 1,200 x 1,200 with interpolation) and supports PCL 5 and 6 as well as Adobe PostScript 3. The printer comes standard with Ethernet and USB 2.0 inputs; Wi-Fi b/g/n is optional. Workgroups will get their printing, scanning, copying and faxing money's worth from Dell's $1,099 color laser MFP.