Dell 968w

A speedy multifunction

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Dell 968w
  • Dell 968w
  • Dell 968w
  • Dell 968w

Pros

  • Wi-Fi, speed, good copies

Cons

  • 150-sheet input tray seems flimsy, guides for feeding thick media are problematic

Bottom Line

The Dell 968w is a good machine overall. We just can't recommend it quite as highly as we would other inkjet multifunction printers that offer similar (or better) capabilities for about the same price.

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The Dell 968w is a fast, expandable colour inkjet multifunction printer.

The 968w we tested has integrated Wi-Fi (a cheaper model is available without that feature). But while the Dell 968w has many office-oriented features, it suffers from design flaws, and it also faces stiff competition from similarly priced models.

In our tests, the Dell 968w performed satisfactorily. It posted a faster-than-average speed of 10.2 pages per minute (ppm) in printing text on plain paper. Colour graphics came out more slowly; in printing a small photo on plain paper, for instance, the 968w managed only 2ppm.

Text samples appeared a little fuzzy but nicely black. Colours showed a yellowish or bluish cast, and images had a grainy look, even on Dell's own photo paper. The Dell 968w produced very good copies (a little chunky) and slightly dark scans.

The Dell 968w's control panel is commendably simple. The 2.4in colour LCD shows all the menu options using clear language. The navigation buttons are intuitive, too, although their shiny, chrome-like surfaces show fingerprints easily.

For a machine that's intended primarily to push paper, however, the Dell 968w could be better designed. The 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) is nice, but the front-mounted, 150-sheet input tray seems flimsy; its guides and markings are hard to see, as well. A second 150-sheet input tray costs extra.

The top of the tray catches output (100 pages), but you must retract its extension every time you load paper — and if you're using legal-size paper, the extension gets in the way a bit. An automatic duplexer (for two-sided printing) is another pay-for option.

Deep within the Dell 968w's output area lurks a particularly troublesome component: a pair of spring-loaded guides for feeding a single envelope or other thick media. They're supposed to close in securely on both sides of the media, but we couldn't get them to work properly — our photo paper always skewed.

The Dell 968w's pricey inks are business-unfriendly. Figuring out how to reach the cartridges is challenging, too, as you get no obvious handle for lifting the scanner unit to do so — just a subtle side indentation.

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