The Dell Photo Printer 540 is fast, solid, and very easy to use. It performed very impressively in CNET Labs' tests, taking around to 1.1 minutes to finish a 4x6-inch photo. Of the compact snapshot printers we've tested, it's the second fastest. The currently holds the top spot, at just 0.2 minute faster than the Dell.
Print quality is good, with pleasing flesh tones and rich colors. The 540, like all thermal-dye-transfer models, doesn't use black dye; grays and blacks are produced as a composite of yellow, magenta, and cyan dyes. Even so, grays looked fairly neutral, and blacks looked dense. The prints showed decent dynamic range, and details were sharp and clear as they could be for 300ppi resolution. There was no banding visible. The Clear Life coating applied at the last step meant the prints emerged dry, resistant to water, and smudge-proof.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Minutes per photo|
CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo contributed to this section of the review.Dell provides product-specific driver and documentation downloads, e-mail tech support, and a wealth of troubleshooting information on its Web site. You also get 24/7 toll-free technical support over the phone and via online chat. If you're impatient (or your printer is seconds away from self-destructing), you can pay for Express Tech Support. Dell offers a one-year Advanced Exchange Service plan.