Dell E515dw Multifunction Monochrome Printer

Good-looking Prints From an Inexpensive All-in-one

Dell Multifunction Monochrome Printer E515dw
Dell Multifunction Monochrome Printer E515dw. Dell

I’ve looked at several monochrome printers recently, and a few of them were multifunction (print, copy, scan, and fax) printers or MFPs. One that stood out was OKI Data’s MB492 Multifunction Printer. It printed good-looking black-and-white pages quickly and at a highly competitive cost per page—less than 1-cent per page in some scenarios.

That, of course, was a high-volume machine; even so, with its $599 MSRP, it was a darn good value. This review, though, is of a low-volume monochrome MFP, Dell’s $219.99 E515dw Multifunction Printer. If yours is a low-volume monochrome printing volume with the occasional need for copying, scanning, and faxing, you should definitely take a closer look at this printer.

Design and Features

Frankly, all of Dell’s laser-class machines look a little old fashioned, but few of us buy printers for their looks. But unlike some of its competitors with their fancy color touch screens and streamlined chassis (much like that OKI mentioned above), this Dell looks, well, plain. Here, you get a deck full of analog buttons and a 2-line LED. One thing is for certain with this layout, it’s certainly not hard to figure out.

At 16.1 inches across and 15.7 inches from front to back, this Dell has a near-squared footprint, and at 12.5 inches high, it’s not that tall, either. You can connect to it via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, or Wi-Fi Direct. (That last one, Wi-Fi Direct is, of course, a protocol for printing from your mobile device without it or the printer being connected to a network.) Then too, it supports the standard mobile features, such as Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint.

Then there’s the 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), though this one is not auto-duplexing for automatic double-sided scanning. The print engine itself is auto-duplexing, on the other hand, so it can print double sided pages without your help.

Finally, I should mention that the E515dw also emulates two popular printer languages, or more precisely, page description languages, or PDLs: HP’s PCL and Adobe’s PostScript. If your application (usually desktop publishing) requires either, I’m sure that you know it, and why

Performance, Paper Handling, and Output Quality

Dell rates this printer at “up to” 27 pages per minute (ppm). When I printed black-and-white, all-text documents with fonts already present in the printer, I hit all around that number during my tests. It prints plenty fast enough for an occasional-use printer.

As for paper handling, the E515dw has one 250-sheet tray and a single-sheet override tray for printing one-up envelopes or different size or grade of paper. During my tests, it all worked fine, and print quality was what you’d expect for a monochrome printer—near-typesetter quality text and decent-looking monochrome and grayscale graphics.

Cost Per Page

My primary reason for calling this an occasional-use printer is that its cost per page (CPP) was a little higher than it should be for a high-volume printer. When you buy the highest-yield (2,600 prints) replacement toner cartridges for this printer, pages will run you about 2.7 cents each, which isn’t bad for a low-volume printer, but it’s too high for a high-volume printer—period. Check out this About.com article “When a $150 Printer Can Cost You Thousands” for a detailed description of this concept.

Overall Assessment

Overall, this isn’t a bad printer. It’s great for printing receipts, quotes, you name it—as long as your print load isn’t too heavy. If so, Dell makes high-volume printers with low CPPs, as do other printer makers.

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