Dell 968 review

£112
Price when reviewed
There are only two machines on offer this month that are more expensive than the Dell 968, and the Dell fails to offer quite enough, when compared with other all-in-ones, to make it worth that relatively high price.

The 968 is a well-designed machine that’s relatively easy to use: a 2.4in LCD screen can be tilted to the optimum viewing angle, and the various menus and options aren’t as confusing as some of the more obscure systems we’ve come across this month, such as the controls on the Epson Stylus DX7400.

Aside from the LCD screen, there’s little else in terms of features to differentiate the Dell from cheaper competition. As with every other all-in-one in this group, the 968 includes a card reader but no wireless connection – just USB.

Thankfully, the Dell makes up for this with its quality: the 968 churned out decent results in all of our printing and scanning tests, with normal-quality documents and photograph scanning handled particularly well thanks to the availability of a dedicated photo cartridge. That said, it’s still beaten here by the Canon, Epson and HP Photosmart devices.

The only area where the Dell faltered was when copying pictures, with colour copies and photos barely reaching average quality levels. If this forms a crucial part of your plans then think about the Canon Pixma or HP Photosmart. It’s not quick, either: five copies of our test colour document took four and a half minutes, and copying a single 6 x 4in photo took almost two and a half minutes.

While performance is good aside from the poor copying, the Dell’s economic credentials aren’t as clear-cut. The high initial price is matched by expensive cartridges: a mono refill costs £12, and a colour reservoir costs £16. The costs aren’t prohibitive, but the Canon printers and Epson Stylus DX7400 are more sensible economic choices.

While it’s true that the print quality offered by the Dell 968 is reasonable, the rest of the machine is too average to make it worth the higher price – the Canon and HP systems are better buys.

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 4800 x 1200dpi
Integrated TFT screen? yes
Rated/quoted print speed 31PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Running costs

Inkjet technology Thermal

Power and noise

Dimensions 458 x 505 x 270mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 32W
Idle power consumption 10W

Copier Specification

Fax? yes

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 2min 5s
Mono print speed (measured) 8ppm
Colour print speed 2ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? no
Input tray capacity 150 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? no
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? no
PictBridge port? yes

Flash media

SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
xD-card reader yes
Other memory media support MMC

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? no
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no
Software supplied ABBYY FineReader

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