Dell’s E514dw Multifunction Printer

Print, scan, and copy for a reasonable price

Dell E514dw Multifunction Printer
Dell's E514dw Multifunction Printer delivers excellent monochrome prints. Dell

Over the past few weeks, the Printer / Scanner section of About.com has looked at several laser-class printers from Dell, starting with the E525w Color Multifunction Printer and the E515dw Multifunction Printer, a monochrome MFP. (And we still have a few more to go.) Today’s review is of the E515dw’s smaller sibling, the $179.99 E514w Multifunction Printer, or MFP.

Better yet, as I was writing this I found it all over the Internet, including Dell.com, for $129.99, a $50 savings, for which you get printing, scanning, and copying (no fax), strong connectivity options, automatic two-sided printing, as well as several mobile connectivity options, discussed a little later on.

Design and Features

Measuring 12.5 inches tall by 16.1 inches across by 15.7 inches from front to back and weighing just 22 pounds 14 ounces, the E514dw is, for a laser-class printer, small and it will fit on most desktops with reasonable comfort. It’s small for all that it does, but apparently plenty large enough to get the job done.

Keeping in mind that this is an entry-level printer, it doesn’t come with much of a control panel to speak of—12 analog buttons anchored by a 2-line monochrome readout. As I’ve said about other Dell printers elsewhere, while this is a fairly new chassis and control panel design for Dell, even so, it’s a lot like stepping back a decade or two in technology.

The E514dw comes with a 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for feeding multipage documents to the scanner, but it’s not an auto-duplexing ADF, meaning that it can’t scan both sides without user intervention—a feature that, if you scan much, is not really a convenience but instead a necessity. The print engine, on the other hand, supports auto-duplexing for automatic two-sided prints.

As for mobile features, it supports (through Dell’s Document Hub) several cloud sites, including Dropbox, Box, and Evernote, as well as Wi-Fi Direct, and you can print from and scan to most Android, iOS, and Windows phones.

Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

Performance-wise, in every test results I’ve seen, the E514dw usually beat or came in neck-and-neck with its competitors. It’s a black-and-white printer, though, and therefore doesn’t require nearly the same amount of time to turn out, say, a four-page full-color newsletter as it does to print the same document in monochrome. Black-and-white documents really do require only a fraction of the data required to print essentially the same data in color.

Print Quality? Well, this is a black-and-white printer, and aside from some slightly misshapen characters at small sizes (under 8 points), it prints about like you’d expect a monochrome machine to print. Grayscale conversion was good, with an apparent utilization of all available 256 shades of gray.

As for paper handling, the E514w has a 250-sheet main tray and a one-sheet manual feed, or override tray. As mentioned, the print engine can print two-sided pages automatically, but the ADF cannot process them without user intervention—you or your coworker turning two-sided originals over manually.

Cost Per Page

From a reviewer’s perspective, monochrome printers require much less math to figure out the cost per page, or CPP. In this case, if you use the $45 1,200-page toner cartridge, pages will cost you 4 cents each. If, on the other hand, your use the $70 2,600-page cartridge, pages will cost you 3 cents. It doesn’t get much simpler than this to figure out, but keep in mind that there are lots of printers out there that can do better.

The End

If you’re looking for a good, low-volume, inexpensive monochrome MFP, this is a good one.