Dell Photo 926 All-in-One Printer review: Dell Photo 926 All-in-One Printer

Faxing with the Photo 926 requires that the attached PC be turned on, as the printer itself lacks a fax machine. Basically, you are using the printer to scan the file to your PC, which then sends out the fax. You can schedule faxes, forward received faxes, receive and print faxes, and block junk faxes. All fax tasks are accomplished through the Dell Fax Solutions software, which is bundled with the printer.

All of the above tasks can also be initiated through the Dell All-in-One Center on your PC. In fact, you get more flexibility because you can preview images and make additional edits or enhancements to them.

Performance
The Dell Photo 926 made quick work of text prints, compared to its comparably priced competition: it produced text pages at a rate of 7.60ppm, which was faster than offerings by Canon, Epson, and Lexmark. It was slower with 4x6 photo prints, producing just 0.74ppm, almost half the speeds offered by Canon's Pixmas. It was the second slowest with scans: 4.52ppm for grayscale and 4.50ppm for color.

CNET Labs Inkjet Multifunction Printer Performance Test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color Scan Speed  
GrayScale Scan Speed  
4x6 Photo Speed  
Text Speed  
Dell Photo 926
4.5 
4.52 
0.74 
7.6 
Lexmark x5470
5.13 
5.66 
0.53 
6.9 
Canon Pixma MP180
5.61 
6.47 
1.36 
5.81 
Canon Pixma MP460
5.6 
5.68 
1.36 
5.8 
Epson Stylus CX4800*
1.75 
4.06 
0.52 
1.57 
Note: *The Epson's photo print speed is for an 8x10 print.

We were even less impressed with the Photo 926's print quality. Text prints were nicely dark and saturated, but the edges of characters showed a lot of jaggedness, even with high quality inkjet paper. Italicized text, in particular, looked bad, with a hazy ghost image around the text. While the print quality is fine for casual reference prints such as directions or shopping lists, we wouldn't use it for professional purposes or even school reports. The color graphics print had a generally faded look about them, even when printed with a fresh ink cartridge. The entire print was beset by faint, horizontal striations, which were distracting. The photo elements were grainy and the barcode-style patterns were fuzzy. White text on a colored background was unreadable at 4 point type.

The photo quality prints left us a little baffled, too. Most printer manufacturers recommend that you use their own photo paper for best quality, but we found that prints made on HP's Premium Plus Photo paper were better than those made on Dell's own Premium Photo Paper. To add to the confusion, prints made using Dell's optional photo ink (for six-color photo prints) had an overly yellow cast; photos printed using the standard CMYK inks showed better color. Dell acknowledges the problem with its photo ink and is working to rectify the issue on future formulations. Even on HP's paper, the photo prints suffered from the same graininess and striations that plagued the color graphics prints. Also, the image wasn't as sharp as we like, and the light areas were overblown, resulting in lost details.

The grayscale scan was also marred by distracting striations, and showed compression in the dark end of the spectrum, as demonstrated by lost details in dark areas. The printer did its best work with the color scans, though even these couldn't escape the striation problem. Colors were reproduced well, though the scanner couldn't handle the barcode patterns well. Overall, the Dell Photo 926 disappointed us with its print quality. You can find better print quality in a $100 printer, such as the Canon Pixma MP180.

CNET Labs Inkjet Multifunction Printer Quality Test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color Scan  
GrayScale Scan  
Photo  
Graphics  
Text  
Canon Pixma MP460
Fair 
Good 
Excellent 
Excellent 
Excellent 
Canon Pixma MP180
Fair 
Fair 
Good 
Excellent 
Good 
Lexmark x5470
Good 
Good 
Poor 
Fair 
Fair 
Epson Stylus CX4800
Good 
Good 
Fair 
Fair 
Good 
Dell Photo 926
Good 
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 

Service and support
Dell backs the Photo 926 with a one-year warranty, though you can pay to upgrade to two or three years of coverage. Toll-free phone support is available 24-7 and Dell's site offers e-mail support and user forums. Dell's Web site also has product-specific support in the form of online user guides, drivers and software downloads, and a troubleshooting tool. You can find basic how-to tips as well, such as how to change the ink cartridge.

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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    Dell Photo 926 All-in-One Printer

    Part Number: 222-5573 Released: May. 24, 2007
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Release date May. 24, 2007
    • Type printer / copier / scanner
    • Printing Technology ink-jet
    • Optical Resolution 1200 x 2400 dpi
    • Functions printer