Toybox: Dell crams features into wireless printer

With automatic document feeder, decent photo printing, scanner and copy functionality, the printer offers a lot of features for its price

Dell’s 948 all-in-one wireless printer arrived to the Toybox testing lab last week.

The 948, which has print, scan, copy and fax functions, is aimed at small office, home office and home users.

According to Dell, the printer can fax from the computer, and scans can be emailed or sent to any computer on the network, or to memory card. Yes, it has a memory card slot, which allows you to print photos from the memory card, print a proof sheet or copy the photos to your PC from the printer.

The printer comes with an automatic document feeder to handle multi-page documents for faxing, scanning, and copying, which is rare even on high-end printers.

It can also print directly from a camera, using PictBridge technology.

But, most importantly, the printer is wireless.

So, very excited about all these features crammed into one relatively cheap printer, I happily carried the 8kg machine home and set out to test it in my little home computer environment. I was a little worried that the printer wouldn’t play nice with Macs but one of our Macs can boot with Windows Vista, so I thought I was all set for an evening of joyful wireless printing.

But my light worrying soon turned into utter disappointment. At 10pm, I still couldn’t get the printer to work wirelessly. Hours of reading the manual and pulling my hair out were lost. My in-house engineer kindly assisted me for the last hour. He very quickly figured out that the wireless adapter that came with the printer was the wrong model, and modified it to fit, but we still couldn’t get it to go, which is a shame, really.

Dell’s PR firm later apologised and said that the adapter swap probably happened when the box was re-packed before it was sent to Computerworld.

The plug-in wireless adapter is meant to connect to an existing wireless network. However, you need to connect the first computer with a USB cable (not included), other computers on the network can then connect wirelessly.

I was, however, able to use the printer hooked up to my computer (running Vista) via USB cable.

Print resolution is up to 4800x1200 dpi, and scan resolution is up to 1200x 1200 dpi at a 48-bit resolution.

To sum up, the 948 certainly has a whole array of features and with automatic document feeder, decent photo printing, scanner and copy functionality, it offers a lot of features for its price.

On the downside, the text quality of the 948 is average, so if you are printing huge amounts of documents that need to be professional-looking, this printer may not be your best choice.

The printer costs $299 including GST delivered.

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