The Good Low initial cost; simple, attractive design.
The Bad Expensive replacement cartridges; sluggish as a photo printer; poor quality prints; no Ethernet port.
The Bottom Line The Dell V305w is cosmetically attractive and inexpensive, but the output quality is much improved and the cost of servicing the printer is much higher than the industry standard. We recommend that you check the competition for a printer that will give you longer-lasting ink, cheaper ink cartridges and more acceptable photo quality prints.
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The Dell V305W is an inexpensive all-in-one printer (AIO) that also connects wirelessly to your home network. The $ 129 multifunctional solution triples the 1200 x 2400 dpi scanner and full-range copier. Dell manages to keep the V305W low by dropping the autos and faxes (e-mail scanning, anyone?), But be careful: the printer consumes ink and replaceable cartridges is extremely expensive. In addition to the high cost of supplies, the V305W can’t keep up with the competition for speed and print quality. We recommend looking elsewhere for a printer that may be more expensive but will save you time and money in the long run.
Design and features
At first glance, the Dell V305W may seem overly simplistic, but we actually prefer a versatile cropped look over something extravagant and fashionable, like Samsung SCX-4500 . The V305W is characterized by delicate, curved lines and an elegant blend of glossy white and matt black panels, as if the designers drew inspiration from portraits of the American artist Patrick Nagel . The whole block looks like it was cut from one block of plastic.
The control panel is also very basic: under the two-line LCD there are seven recessed buttons that allow you to navigate the menu and control the various functions on the device. Directly under the dual-ink cartridge compartment, you will find two memory card ports (SD, MS, xD, MMC, CF, MD) and a PictBridge USB port for printing directly from a compatible digital camera. The printer does not have an Ethernet port, so you cannot use it as a print server. Instead, you must connect to the wireless network using the internal network adapter installed on the back of the printer. The other two ports on the back support power and a USB cable to connect directly to your computer.
The 100-sheet front-loading tray is the only option for media input because the printer lacks the document feeder. The small hand inside the feeder can be adjusted to fit different paper sizes up to the size of a leaflet (3.5 inches by 5 inches), but we hate to replace print media only for photos. It’s a shame Dell doesn’t have a separate photo tray like HP Photosmart C8180 .
Setting up your printer for wireless communication is painless with Dell’s step-by-step setup. As always, we recommend that you first establish a USB connection – this will prompt the driver to establish a dedicated wireless connection between the printer and the computer, so you can run faster and print faster. The CD that comes with the V305W comes with preinstalled drivers to help you set up your network settings, but the rest of the work, combining the two devices together, is the printer itself. The whole process took less than 10 minutes from start to finish.
The V305 uses two separate cartridges for three-color and black-and-white inks, and comes with standard-size cartridges. In addition, Dell also sells high-capacity ink cartridges on the company’s website, but the cost per page is astronomical for both “standard” and “high-performance” options. According to Dell, a $ 25 color cartridge prints only 230 pages, so the cost of printing a single color page is 9.2 pennies. To consider this, it costs one page for Canon Pixma MX700 the printer is only 3 cents for a black and white page and 6 cents for full color photos. The standard V305W-supplied cartridge didn’t even last long enough for us to finish our quality and speed tests. The initial retail price of the V305W looks tempting, but you should be prepared to constantly replenish it with permanent ink refills.
Compared to other printers of the same category and price range, the Dell V305w is the best and worst package. It prints black text at a staggering 7.82 ppm (PPM) speed, which is almost double the speed of price Kodak ESP5 . Dell can also scan full page black and white graphics faster than competitors, but we are disappointed with the time it takes to print color documents, including presentations and 4-inch-6-inch photos. Photosmart C8180 is the slowest photo printer in the 0.66 PPM set, but Dell is not much faster at 0.88 PPM, and the same story can be told for our Powerpoint presentation color test; the 1.24PPM V305w V245w test puts it last.
Speed test (pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|B/W Scanning||Presentation Speed||Photo Speed||Black Text Speed|
4.322.211.374.39 Canon Pixma MX700
4.742.31.057.41 HP Photosmart C8180
3.732.470.664.37 Lexmark x7550
2.91.811.164.39 Dell V305W
The Dell V305w can also improve the quality of the release. The driver lets you print at 1200 or 4800 dpi and automatically selects the latter if you load photo paper into the feeder. However, even at 4800 dpi, black and white text still looks spotty and uneven on paper. In addition, reducing the font size to 6 causes the letters to be confused with strongly serrated lines and rough edges. In our 4 inch by 6 inch photo quality test, we noticed a dark tint that tarnishes most of the images, resulting in muted tones and unbalanced color saturation throughout the page. Individual portrait shots suffer from the same problem; large individual pixels are displayed in areas such as light skin tones where the color gradation is too thin to handle the print head.
Service and support
Dell covers the V305w with a standard one-year warranty, although specific information is difficult to find in the documentation and the website. The Dell Support Page offers frequently asked questions, hot topics, in-depth popular topics, and 24/7 technical support. The site also has the option to extend the standard warranty, but you need to sign up for a service tag to get any pricing information.
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