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Dell P513w printer review: Dell P513w printer

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The P513w uses two separate cartridges for tricolor and black/white inks and ships with standard-capacity cartridges in the box. Alternatively, Dell also sells high-capacity ink cartridges on the company's Web site, but the page yield numbers are no longer listed on the site so we can't accurately calculate the cost per page. We can report, however, that the standard cartridge didn't even last long enough for us to finish our quality and speed test, and the customer complains on Amazon and the Dell purchase pages echo our experience.

The Dell P513w made quick work of all four speed document tests compared with the competition, producing text pages at 7.67 pages per minute to best HP, Kodak, and Canon units. The presentation and color graphics page tests yielded average results at 3.6 ppm and 3.5 ppm, respectively, but the printer lagged while printing single 4-inch-by-6-inch snapshot photos because of a significant pause between prints to allow for the ink to dry on the page before picking up the next sheet.

Printer speed test (in ppm)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Presentation speed  
Photo speed (one sheet)  
Color graphics speed  
Text speed  
Lexmark Interact S605
Dell P513w
HP Photosmart C6380
Kodak ESP 5
Canon PIXMA MP495

We weren't quite as impressed with the image quality put out by the Dell. While our full sheet of plain black text looked presentable at first, a closer inspection showed several jagged lines at the corners of text in small fonts, specifically in italicized text; white text on a colored background was unreadable at less than a 5-point font.

Even at the high-quality setting, we wouldn't recommend using this printer for printing PowerPoint presentations or any other professional documents. Furthermore, the color graphics page is marred with an overall faded look and a slightly yellow overcast that significantly departs from the color palette of the original image.

We can't find any positive things to say about the image quality here, and despite several ink head cleanings and calibrations, the image just doesn't come out as sharp, or as accurate, as we'd expect from a $150 printer.

Service and support
Dell backs the P513w 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.

Find out more about how we test printers.

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