The Dell 948 All-in-One is a colour inkjet multifunction printer that offers good performance and features for a low price - as many others do. But this model has a few bonuses for higher-volume users.

At first glance, the boxy Dell 948 All-in-One looks unremarkable. It has only a USB connection (Dell sells a 802.11b/g adaptor and a Bluetooth adaptor). Its 100-sheet input tray is small, although its 50-sheet, foldout output tray is sturdy.

And the Dell 948 All-in-One has the media slots for photo printing.

Two of the Dell 948 All-in-One's features, however, are rare in this price range: automatic duplexing and a 25-sheet automatic document feeder. Only the similarly designed Lexmark X6570 can boast the same (and the Lexmark costs nearly twice as much as the Dell). It can even scan a duplex document (with manual intervention) and print a duplex copy - nice for saving paper.

With some multifunction printers, you get lost in all the control-panel buttons; with the Dell 948 All-in-One, there are so few that you could hardly go wrong. The two-line, monochrome LCD communicates all menu options in plain English. When it has to say something longer than a word or two, however, the slow scrolling of a line of text across the display will probably seem tedious. The panel can lie vertically flush with the machine or tilt to a set angle.

Dell's All-In-One Center application offers a tabbed interface for major functions, stepping you through processes and calling up the necessary application, such as ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint for optical character recognition (OCR) or Corel Snapfire for photo editing. Get help by clicking a link in the Dell 948 All-in-One's interface or by going straight to the user guide, which is thorough and provided in both paper and HTML forms.

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The Dell 948 All-in-One is a colour inkjet multifunction printer that offers good performance and features for a low price - as many others do. But this model has a few bonuses for higher-volume users.

In our tests, text pages exited at a decent 7.6 pages per minute (ppm), but graphics pages crawled at 1.7ppm. On plain paper, letters looked nicely black but a little fuzzy, as did graphics, which were also grainy and oversaturated. Dell's own photo paper improved the latter considerably: We noted milder oversaturation and reasonable detail.

Ink costs vary with the Dell 948 All-in-One: a half-page of plain text is a bit steep, but a page with small amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black is cheap. (Printing a full-colour photo will use more ink.) Copy and scan samples we made were acceptable.

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Dell 948 All-in-One: Specs

  • All-In-One inkjet, photo, colour
  • print, scan, fax and copy
  • borderless printing, colour printing, wireless, dual-sided printing (Duplex)
  • supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • quoted print speeds: up to 28ppm b/w, 25ppm colour
  • print resolution: up to 4800x1200dpi
  • max scan resolution
  • up to 1200x1200dpi, 48-bit resolution
  • 32MB SD-RAM
  • 25-sheet automatic document feeder (multi-page scanning, faxing and copying capability)
  • 100-sheet input tray
  • 25-sheet output tray
  • peer to Peer, modem, wireless
  • USB, PictBridge, Telephone input and output
  • 458x410x288mm
  • 8kg
  • All-In-One inkjet, photo, colour
  • print, scan, fax and copy
  • borderless printing, colour printing, wireless, dual-sided printing (Duplex)
  • supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • quoted print speeds: up to 28ppm b/w, 25ppm colour
  • print resolution: up to 4800x1200dpi
  • max scan resolution
  • up to 1200x1200dpi, 48-bit resolution
  • 32MB SD-RAM
  • 25-sheet automatic document feeder (multi-page scanning, faxing and copying capability)
  • 100-sheet input tray
  • 25-sheet output tray
  • peer to Peer, modem, wireless
  • USB, PictBridge, Telephone input and output
  • 458x410x288mm
  • 8kg

OUR VERDICT

It's hard to distinguish yourself among a growing pack of competitors, but Dell's 948 AIO has a few special features that make it more useful than others in its price range. While other inkjet multifunctions we've tested are faster or flashier, the Dell 948 All-in-One is still worth considering.

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