Dell has come a long way in the printer industry. Gone are the days where they had to bundle their desktops and notebooks with other brands because they didn't offer a photo printer or a large format printer. But are these quality devices or just a rushed product? Below, I review the Dell Photo P703w to answer just that question.
• Inkjet 3-in-1 printer (print, copy, scan)
• Adjustable 3.0-inch color LCD
• Print speeds up to 31 ppm in black, 26 ppm in color
• Print resolution: up to 1200 x 1200 dpi
• Scan resolution: up to 1200 dpi
• USB 2.0 High speed, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
• Built-in memory card reader (Memory Stick, SD or xD cards)
• Includes: Dell Ink Management System, borderless printing, index proof
The Dell P703w all-in-one printer is average size at approx. 22 lbs. Its dimensions are 20.3" x 14.5" x 8.7" and other than the paper tray is fairly compact. The printer is almost entirely black with a silver wrap around the midsection and a silver border around the top.
Unlike the rest of the black on the printer, the top is a glossy black and very reflective. In fact, I had problems taking pictures of the top without getting my reflection in the shot as you can see below. There is the standard Dell logo in the middle of the scanner lid while the LCD screen and control panel lay to the right of the lid.
Just ignore the face staring back at you...
The color 3.0” LCD screen flips up for easy access and there are 10 buttons and a control wheel in the panel including: rotate, zoom in, zoom out, photo, scan, copy, cancel, menu, start and power. The control wheel consists of four arrow keys and a check/ok button in the middle.
The scanner lid lifts up to reveal a scanning area of approx. 12” x 8 ½”. The lid lifts out about two inches for scanning of thicker items such as books.
Below all of this, around the midsection, the printer can be lifted for easy access to the printhead and cartridges.
The paper tray and built-in card reader are located at the bottom of the P703w. The paper tray is divided into two separate trays. On the top of the tray there is smaller tray exclusively for 4 x 6-inch photo paper. The bottom of the tray is where all other print media is inserted. It’s large enough for letter/A4 sized paper as well as 8 x10” photo paper. The tray also can be used for envelopes and smaller paper and there are paper clamps on all sides that are adjustable to the print medium.
The built-in card reader is to the right of the paper tray. It is compatible with xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD Card/Multi-media Card and Compact Flash type I and type II. Below the card reader is a PictBridge slot.
Setting up the P703w
When I opened the P703w, there was a large laminated set up guide. It takes new users through loading paper, loading ink cartridges, calibration and using the driver CD. Everything is relatively simple to load and it took me about five minutes.
I did have some problems with the Driver and Utilities CD. Like most new hardware installation guides, Dell gives the user an option between their recommend configuration and a custom install. I chose custom but when the wizard brought up the screen it wouldn’t let me choose anything; it just installed less useless software. I was forced to download the Dell Imaging Toolbox and Bonjour software along with the drivers.
After the drivers are installed, the wizard asks if you want to use the printer on a wireless network or just through the standard USB cable. I chose to use the wireless option.
The wizard is easy enough to understand but I could not get the printer to find my network until after I moved the printer closer to the router, my guess is the built-in wireless antenna in the P703w is weak. Once I moved the printer, the wizard immediately found my network and the rest of the set up was a breeze.
All in all, it took about 20 minutes to get the P703w set up and installed; that’s pretty average compared to other printers I’ve reviewed.
Ease of Use
The P703w is easy to use as a stand alone device. There are large, well labeled buttons for accessing the photo, scan, copy menus along with the main menu. All four of these menus are easy to read and understand; Dell does a good job not over complicating its menus.
The built-in card reader worked great and I had no problems printing directly from my SD memory card. I was disappointed I couldn’t print pictures from a USB flash drive. I tried using the PictBridge port but it just kept asking me to insert digital media. I know that a PictBridge port isn’t made to be used with a flash drive but I have been able to on other printers.
If you did the typical install, then you downloaded Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition along with Dell’s Imaging Toolbox. I’m not going to go into the Photoshop software since it’s completely unnecessary to use the P703w.
The Imaging Toolbox is easy to navigate with three main options: Scan, Copy and Print. The ink levels are displayed on the home page of the toolbox and you can order supplies and manage settings from this page as well.
The Imaging Toolbox is unavailable if the printer is disconnected; an issue I dealt with immediately after setting up my printer on my wireless network. For some reason I could not get the P703w printer to connect with my Dell Latitude D620. I went through all of Dell’s troubleshooting but my computer acted like the P703w didn’t exist. My coworker volunteered to try to access the P703w from his Lenovo since we are on the same network and he had no issue, the printer responded great. As of this writing, I still have no idea what the problem was and never managed to correct it.
When Dell decided to enter the photo printer market they partnered with Kodak, a long time player in the photography/film industry. So the P703w is equipped with Kodak Color Technology and Dell’s 8.5” x 11” Dell Photo paper had the Kodak logo on the back.
The Imaging Toolbox was helpful when printing photos. It can pull up every picture that is on your PC and you can do basic editing within the program, saving you time and energy.
I printed 4” x 6” color prints at an average of 50 seconds whether printing from my PC or directly from a memory card (there could be longer print times from PC over a wireless network). Unlike some inkjet printers, the prints could be handled immediately. The colors came out great for an inkjet, especially when I used the Kodak Perfect Touch. As you can see below, the colors are better and there is less of a glare in the perfect touch photo.
Unedited picture is on the left; Kodak Perfect Touch on the right
I used Dell's High Gloss Photo Paper, Canon's Photo Plus paper and Kodak's Ultra Premium Photo paper when printing 4" x 6" images. The Kodak prints came out the best but that had more to do with the quality of the paper than the printer in my opinion.
The prints were also crisp for the most part, the 8” x 10” photos I printed came out with little distortion and were well centered on the 8.5” x 11” paper. I printed 8” x 10” color prints at an average 1 minute 49 seconds and I used Dell's Ultra Premium Photo paper for testing.
As for regular print jobs, the P703w printed a black and white document in 21 seconds. Nothing too exciting to report about the black and white print jobs, the letters were decently black and there was no fading or smudges.
The scanner was decent for an all-in-one, allowing the user to make basic distinctions such as color photo or black and white document and then scanned at the default resolution. The user could also get into the advanced scan menu where the resolution can be increased to 1200 dpi and the images can be enhanced with Kodak Perfect Touch among others.
After the image is scanned, the image can be saved on your pc, directly to a memory card or e-mailed as several different file types or it can be printed immediately.
The P703w’s copy options were very similar to the scan options whether using the basic default settings or advanced options. Average copy to print time for color photo images was 2 minutes 46 seconds. For just a black and white copy the average time was 37 seconds.
• Stylish, compact
• Good LCD, easy to navigate menus
• Bright photos
• Photo tray within paper tray
• Couldn’t upload pictures directly from flash drive
• Had trouble configuring wireless network
• Lack of custom install
The Dell Photo P703w All-In-One printer is a good, solid first try for Dell in the photo printer market. The prints were good, the colors were bright and it didn’t take an obnoxiously long time to print. The scanner and copy functionality is a plus, combined with the built-in card reader, the P703w makes moving, editing and printing images a breeze.
I did have problem with the set-up and wireless configuration. I never did get it to work correctly with my Dell Latitude and even though my coworker did manage to access the printer over our network, I’m still feeling like the Wi-Fi could stand to be improved.
The P703w is also decently priced at $149 but the ink cartridges and paper can add up. Dell does offer the nice perk of free recycling for your old printer when buying a new Dell printer and you can recycle used ink cartridges through the company as well.
The bottom line is it’s a good printer for a home office or a student. It’s handy, compact and less than $200. But I’d stay away from the P703w if you’ll be using in it an office since it can only connect to three computers over a network at once and isn’t designed to handle heavy workflow.
Pricing and Availability
The Dell Photo P703w All-In-One Printer is available on Dell's website for an initial cost of $149. That does include a black and a color ink cartridge but additional cartridges will run $18 for black and $23 for color. Dell's Ultra Premium 4" x 6" photo paper is $21 for 100 sheets. Dell's Ultra Premium 8.5" x 11" photo paper is $18 for 25 sheets or $19 for 30 sheets.
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