Dell H825cdw review - can this laser live up to today's inkjets?

2 Feb 2016
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Dell H825cdw
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
274
inc VAT

Dell's H825cdw laser multifunction is a good compromise between speed, quality and cost

Specifications

Technology: Single-pass colour laser, Maximum print resolution: 600x600dpi, Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth): 600x600dpi (24-bit), Dimensions (HxWxD): 500x429x504mm, Weight: 31.7kg, Maximum paper size: A4/legal

With inkjets getting ever faster and cheaper to run, it gets harder to find laser printers we'd recommend. Dell's new H825cdw is in with a shout, though: it's a colour laser multifunction peripheral (MFP) with a great set of features including all the interfaces you could need, automatic duplex (double-sided) printing and scanning, NFC, and integration with various cloud services. At 28 pages per minute (ppm) it's fast, and if the need arises you can buy an extra 550-sheet paper tray to supplement its standard 250-sheet cassette and 50-page multipurpose tray.

It won't be love at first sight. The H825cdw is black and slab-sided enough that it made me want to hit things with bones. It's livened up by a big colour touchscreen mounted in front of the scanner bed. Below this is a USB port for scans to, or printing from, an inserted USB disk. At the top, there's a 50-sheet automatic document feeder capable of scanning both sides of a sheet in a single pass - ideal if you need to make fast double-sided copies or faxes.

Front right view, Dell H825cdw, paper trays extended

Dell's software install is a bit clunky, but seems foolproof, and much the same could be said for the printer's own control panel. Unusually, settings changes such as enabling or disabling the built-in Wi-Fi interface require a reboot before they'll take effect. It's not the friendliest interface at first, but after a short period of use it begins to show recently used functions, which I found helpful. Create a Dell Document Hub account, link it with your accounts on cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive, and you can access these directly from the printer via a single login.

The H825cdw isn't too noisy during prints, although it takes 20 seconds or so after a job for its cooling fans to step down. The hush is surprising given its impressive speed: it completed our 25-page text test in exactly a minute from a standing start, and needed only 90 seconds for our more complex colour graphics test. Photocopies were impressively fast, with 10 mono pages completing in 29 seconds, and 10 colour pages in 50 seconds. Scans, too, were very quick, with a document scan needing just eight seconds at 150 dots per inch (dpi), or twice that at 300dpi.

Control panel, Dell H825cdw

Aside from very slightly sombre colour output, print quality was uniformly excellent, as were photocopies. Scans were also very good, demonstrating sharp focus and high dynamic range to capture almost the full range of shades in our tests. I wasn't enamoured with the layout or usability of Dell's TWAIN scan interface, but it clearly did the job.

It's been a while since I've reviewed a colour laser printer which uses separate toners and drums, but the H825cdw does. Many users won't need to replace the latter, as each is rated for 50,000 pages, but the supplied toner will be gone within about 1,200 pages. Using Dell's extra high capacity replacements and factoring in the cost of drums and the 30,000-page waste toner box, ongoing running costs work out at about 10.1p per colour page, which is broadly competitive. I'd still go for a good office inkjet, but if I was choosing a laser, the H825cdw would be near the top of my list.

Hardware
Technology Single-pass colour laser
Maximum print resolution 600x600dpi
Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth) 600x600dpi
Number of colours (cartridges) 4 (4)
Standard interfaces USB, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, USB host
Optional interfaces None
Dimensions (HxWxD) 500x429x504mm
Weight 31.7kg
Duty cycle (pages per month) 50,000 maximum, 700-3,500 recommended
Paper handling
Maximum paper size A4/legal
Maximum paper weight 220gsm
Standard paper trays (capacity) 2 (300)
Maximum paper trays (capacity) 3 (850)
Duplex Yes
Automatic Document Feeder capacity 50
Features
Supported operating systems Windows Vista or later, Mac OS X 10.7 or later, various Linux distributions, SAP R/3 Release 4.6B onwards
Other features 10.9cm colour touchscreen, NFC
Buying information
Warranty One year next business day onsite
Price £274 inc VAT
Consumable parts and prices Extra-high capacity black cartridge (5,000 pages) 593-BBRZ £79. Extra-high capacity cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges (4,000 pages each) £110 each (ISO/IEC 19798). Black (724-BBNE), cyan (724-BBNG), magenta (724-BBND) and yellow (724-BBNI) drums 50,000 pages each, £30 each. Waste toner box 724-BBNF, 30,000 pages, £12.
Quoted life of supplied black toner 1,200 pages (ISO/IEC 19798)
Quoted life of supplied colour toner 1,200 pages (ISO/IEC 19798)
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT 10.1p
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT (colour part) 8.5p
Cost per ISO/IEC 19798 A4 page inc VAT (mono part) 1.7p
Capacity of supplied drum/s (pages) 50,000 pages each
Supplier www.morecomputers.com
Details www.dell.co.uk
Part code 210-AFRN