The Dell V313w is a colour inkjet multifunction printer with some new features - including integrated wireless functionality.
Dell's V313w colour inkjet multifunction printer is priced at a mere £50, and it seems to receive regular discounting on Dell's website. But while it looks like a good deal - especially in view of its integrated wireless functionality - the Dell V313w is ultimately a mediocre product overall, with expensive inks.
The V313w's few nice features are tacked onto an otherwise unremarkable machine. The Wi-Fi works fine, and the front of the unit includes both a USB port and a card reader for MMC, MS, SD and xD media. Although the control panel is easy to use, the buttons are inexplicably small, given the vast amount of space available. The panel tilts upward for easier viewing, but you have to bend the underbody of the panel to retract it.
The rudimentary paper handling features on the Dell V313w consist of a 100-sheet rear vertical feed and manual duplexing. An extra sheet prints out with a duplex job to guide the refeeding process; you can disable this assistance if you don't need it. The A4-size scanner lacks an automatic document feeder to expedite scanning multipage jobs, but the lid telescopes a good inch to accommodate thicker materials.
Dell V313w: Performance
The Dell V313w's performance was a mixed bag. Plain black text printed at a middling rate of 6.7 pages per minute (ppm) on the PC and at 6.6ppm on the Mac. On the PC, snapshot-size photos printed at 3ppm at default settings and 0.8ppm at finer settings.
A full-page, high-resolution photo printed on the Mac at a rate of 0.8ppm, too - faster than most other MFPs managed with the same image.
On the other hand, the V313w's copying and scanning speeds were slower than average. Text quality was nicely dark, but crisper in our Mac samples than in our PC samples. Whereas colour photos printed on plain paper looked overly bright and slightly washed out, but the same images looked smooth and natural on Dell's own glossy paper.
We encountered an interesting quirk in the V313w's printing process. Images printed with Photoshop CS4 appeared off vertical centre on the page, with little to no margin at the top and excessive space at the bottom. Images printed from other programs didn't suffer from this defect.
Dell suggested that in Windows 7, setting the Paper Source to 'Automatically Select' may cause the margins to hike up, if the printer has only one paper tray - as is the case with the V313w. Whatever the reason, it's a bothersome flaw.
Dell V313w: Ink costs
Even if you can tolerate the V313w's foibles, its ink costs may dissuade you from signing on: they're among the highest we've seen. And the standard-size black cartridge and the unified cyan, magenta and yellow colour cartridge didn't even last through our testing - that's how low their page yields are.
The £16.99 black cartridge was good for 180 pages, and the £18.98 colour cartridge delivered 170 pages. The 360-page black (£25) and 340-page colour (£30) high-yield cartridges lower the MFP's consumables costs only marginally.
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