The Dell Smart Printer S5830dn ($999.99) is a single-function monochrome laser printer built for handling massive print volumes. This beast of a machine features lightning-fast speed, excellent paper handling, and very low running costs, and should fit in well in a busy workgroup or as a heavy-duty printer in a small to midsize office. Similar in performance to the Dell B5460, but with a wider feature set, the S5830dn replaces that model as Editors’ Choice.
Design and Features
The matte-black S5830dn measures 6.5 by 16.7 by 20.1 inches (HWD), large enough that it needs a table or a bench of its own. As it weighs 52 pounds, two people will need to move it into place. Its top front edge is strongly beveled. At the center of the edge is a 4.3-inch color touch screen, to the right of which is an alphanumeric keypad. To the left of the display is a port for a USB thumb drive.
The S5830dn scores big on paper handling. Like most of its peers, it has a 650-sheet standard paper capacity, split between a 550-sheet main tray and a 100-sheet multipurpose feeder, and an auto-duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. (Duplex printing is enabled by default.) Where it really stands out is in its optional capacity, supporting up to three optional 550-sheet trays ($234.99 each) plus a 2,100-sheet feeder ($849.99), for a maximum paper capacity of 4,400 sheets. Other optional accessories include a staple finisher, a staple hole-punch finisher, a 1,500-sheet output stacker, four-bin mailbox, and a 160GB encrypted hard drive. The 300,000-sheet maximum monthly duty cycle and its 50,000-sheet recommended monthly duty cycle peg the S5830dn for heavy-duty printing.
Connectivity and Drivers
Connectivity is via USB and Ethernet; I tested the printer over an Ethernet connection. As is the case with many high-end laser printers, the S5830dn does not provide standard wireless connectivity (a wireless server is available as a $99.99 option), but you can still print to it from a mobile device if the printer is connected via Ethernet to a network with a wireless access point. With the Dell B5640dn and the HP LaserJet Enterprise M604dn , Wi-Fi is also optional. The S5830dn is compatible with the Dell Document Hub app (for iOS and Android) and Google Cloud Print, and is AirPrint and Mopria certified for printing from iOS and Android devices, respectively. The printer has a solid set of drivers, including PCL 5e, PCL 6, and a PostScript emulation.
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Speed and Output Quality
I timed the S5830dn at 15 pages per minute (ppm) in printing our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) in its default duplex mode, a very fast speed for duplex printing. It is rated at up to 32ppm for duplex printing and 60ppm for simplex (one-sided) printing. While our official timings are in the printer’s default mode, I also did some ad hoc testing, in which the S5830dn turned in an 18.4ppm speed, nearly the same as the 18.7ppm at which I timed the Dell B5460dn, which is rated at 63ppm in its default simplex mode. (Their scores across the entire suite differed by just 1 second.) The HP LaserJet Enterprise M604dn, rated at 52ppm, tested at 13.4ppm, also in simplex.
Output Quality, Running Costs
Overall output quality is a bit below par, with average text and photo quality, and below-par graphics quality. Fortunately, even average text quality for a laser printer is good enough for any business use other than those requiring very small fonts.
The S5830dn failed to show a gradation in an illustration with an area of changing tone, although it did okay with other gradations. On another page, light type that should have showed up against a background was invisible. Photo output was typical of mono lasers, fine for printing out pictures from webpages and files. Graphics should be fine for most internal business use.
Running costs, based on Dell’s price and yield figures for the highest-capacity cartridges, are low, just a penny per page, the same as with the Dell B5460dn and considerably lower than the HP M604dn’s 1.6 cents per page.
The Dell Smart Printer S5830dn is a strong choice as a monochrome laser printer for high-volume printing in a busy workgroup or a small to midsize office. It has a hefty monthly duty cycle, a maximum paper capacity of 4,100 sheets, and a very low cost per page. The S5830dn is similar to its predecessor, the Dell B5640dn, but supports still higher-volume printing, so it’s our new Editors’ Choice.