Dell Business Printer Line Refresh Has SMB Appeal

Tuesday Nov 16th 2010 by David Needle
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The new small business printers include multifunction, touch screen models and a universal print driver designed to simplify printer deployment and management.

Dell Announces New Small Business Printers

Dell unveiled a major update to its small business printer line this week including new monochrome and multifunction color models.

On the pricing front, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) said the new 2355dn is the first mainstream monochrome laser printer with a color touch screen designed to simplify operation and workflow. The $599 printer has print, copy, scan and fax capabilities and what Dell called a rugged duty cycle of 80,000 pages.

A 2355d model prints on two sides (the d stands for duplexing), while the dn model also features built-in networking for small workgroup printing.

"It's quite a bit faster than the earlier model it replaces," Scott Gray, product manager for Dell's printer and imaging group, told InternetNews.com. "There's more value with a longer lifecycle for the same price as the 2330 model." The new 2355d prints at 40 ppm versus 35 ppm for the 2330.

The color touch screen simplifies access to features such as digitizing documents and scanning. "It just takes a couple of touches, with very little scrolling involved," said Gray.

For small businesses looking for budget-priced printers, Dell's offers the new 2350d and 2350dn models, which are priced at $249 and $299 (with networking) respectively. Again, Dell's upped the print speed from an earlier model, to 40 ppm on the 2350 printers -- an increase of almost 13 percent.

On the higher-end color side, Dell said the new 1355cn/cnw models are the world's smallest 4-in-1 (print,/copy/scan/fax) multifunction color laser-class network printers available. Dell said the 1355cn is "virtually maintenance free" including the drum and fuser that were designed to last the lifetime of the mall business printer, though there is no formal warranty to that effect. Starting price is $379 or $419 for a model with Wi-Fi connectivity included.

"These [small business printers] are ideal for SMBs and home users because they use less desk space, and there's much easier maintenance because the drums and fusers are designed not to be replaced," Bill Muscato, global imaging product line manager at Dell, told InternetNews.com "[They're} 40 percent smaller in volume or size than a comparable HP model," he added.

Dell's also introducing a universal or open print driver (OPD) with the new models that makes it simpler, particularly for smaller companies with no IT department, to set up and add new printers. "What it does is give customers a common interface in a very small package; a lot of universal drivers tend to be fairly large," said Muscato. "A single driver helps IT with management of their printer fleet, and it has a nice discovery function where the first time you load it, it finds all the printers on the network."

Muscato also noted other features like the capability to filter specific kinds of printers you may be looking for on the network like ones that do color or duplexing. "For SMBs it's easy to install on a client system, and it's a free download," he said.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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