Advent is Dixons Store Group’s (DSGi) own technology brand, but the AW10 was developed in conjunction with Kodak, and Kodak’s printing expertise helped it to produce surprisingly good photo output for a printer in this price range.
To some extent the AW10’s low price is reflected in its build quality. The lightweight plastic chassis seems a little flimsy and the quaint little prop that you use to open the top of the printer and install the ink cartridges made it feel like opening the bonnet on a old car. However, we can’t fault the printer’s range of features.
The AW10 includes scanning and copying features in addition to straightforward printing, and it has Wi-Fi connectivity so you can share it on a network. There’s also a memory card slot for printing photos straight from your camera.
Printing speed is respectable for such an affordable printer, and will be perfectly adequate for home users who don’t need high-volume printing. DSGi quotes the printer’s speed in ‘images per second’, which is more realistic than the sometimes inflated ‘pages per minute’ figures quoted by some manufacturers, and in our tests the printer managed 5ppm for black and white documents, 3.5ppm for colour, and 55 seconds for a 4x6in postcard photo print.
Photo quality was very good indeed. When printing a large A4 photo on plain photocopier paper, the Advent produced a sharp and clear image with no sign of the banding that often occurs when using cheaper plain paper.
However, we were a little disappointed about the text quality when using the printer's default ‘normal’ quality setting. Text characters were smooth and detailed, but looked rather grey. We had to select the ‘best’ quality setting to get really crisp black text – and that cut the printing speed in half. Still, this isn’t a business printer, so home users will probably be happy to use the ‘normal’ quality setting most of the time and just switch to ‘best’ for the occasional formal letter or school essay.
Mono printing is also a little on the expensive side, coming in at just over 5p per page, although colour printing is closer to the average at around 12p. The AW10 also uses a combined ‘tri-colour’ cartridge containing all three colour inks. This can work out more expensive than printers that use separate cartridges. So while the AW10 is a bargain in terms of its up-front purchase price it’s probably best suited for occasional use as the running costs could mount up if you use it for printing a lot of documents every day.