Hands on: Dell E310dw review

An affordable laser printer that works with mobile devices

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

An affordable laser printer that's ideal for occasional black-and-white prints, the E310dw is worth picking up if on offer.

For

  • Small and light
  • Multi-sided printing
  • Good-quality text prints

Against

  • Can be slow to print
  • Only cheap if used infrequently

So long as you don’t print anything in color, one of the best ways to simplify your computing life is to pick up a laser printer for taking care of odd printing jobs.

The Dell 310dw isn’t the latest model on the market, which means that its price has fallen comfortably below the £100 (around $120) mark. We even spotted it being sold for as little as £40 ($50) from one online retailer, an offer that has unfortunately expired.

So, the E310dw is very much a budget printer. Designed for use in small home and office environments, its impressive feature set belies its bargain basement price. If you only print off a handful of documents each week, then the convenience it can bring to your office setup alone makes it worth picking up in a sale.

An eye-catching design isn’t likely to top your list of priorities when choosing a printer, and the E310dw isn’t going to provide one. Saying that, we think its rounded corners and matte-black finish lends it a smart and demure appearance.

At just 14 x 14.2 x 7.3 inches (W x D x H), the E310dw is particularly small for a single-function laser printer – and that’s one of its best attributes. We keep ours permanently housed on the corner of our main work desk, and unlike bulky inkjet or all-in-one models, it leaves plenty of room for us to space out keyboards, monitors and other peripherals. It weighs just 12.8 pounds, so you won’t have any trouble carting it to another room if you need to.

Setting up the E310dw will prove no hard task even for printer novices. It comes with a toner cartridge that requires you to remove a few protective coverings before flipping open the top half of the front of the unit. Slipping it inside is as simple as lining up front-edge first and gently pushing it until it clicks into place.

The E310dw sports a number off connectivity options that can be used to pair it with your laptop or PC. There’s ethernet for having it hard-wired into a network, and you can also set it up using Wi-Fi and Wi-FI direct if your computer doesn’t have a standard USB port.

Using the E310dw’s tiny LCD display to navigate the menu system and locate our router’s SSID, before punching in its Wi-Fi password, was the only mildly frustrating part of the process. We set our unit up with a 2016 MacBook Pro over Wi-Fi in around 10 minutes.

There’s enough room to slip 250 sheets of A4 paper into the E310dw’s paper tray, which has a one-sheet manual feed and can print on two sides using a duplexer. The latter is a nifty feature in a unit as size as the E310dw.

There are two plastic ridges that can be flipped open to help keep printed sheets from flying onto the floor – particularly when you’re printing in bulk. Connecting to a network gives you the option to print from Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and also through the cloud using sites such as Dropbox and Box.

Dell rates the E310dw at 27 pages per minute (or ppm), though this will vary depending on the complexity of what it is you’re printing. Printing this 650-word review, with the last few paragraphs printed on reverse, took around 25 seconds. Simpler documents such as return labels on a single side printed much faster, clocking in at about eight to 10 seconds.

The E310dw’s print quality is good considering the price. We found no jagged edges in our test print, which was produced with even quality throughout. Text became noticably less sharp with font sizes in the single digits, which is to be expected on a laser printer of this cost.

In all, the E310dw’s attractive price tag, compatibility with mobile devices, duplex printing and small form factor make it an ideal printer if you only dabble in black-and-white documents. It’s easy to set up, prints text faster and with higher quality than most inkjet printers and should cost you less to run if you’re not printing more than a few hundred pages every month.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.