Dell All-In-One Printer 810: Product Review

When my clunky but reliable old HP printer finally died after years of faithful service, it only made sense to buy the Dell All-In-One Printer 810. I’ve been very happy with my Dell Inspiron laptop, so I figured that a new Dell printer would be comparable to the laptop in terms of performance. It’s easy to compare products on the Dell website and view specific product highlights. At $69, this was an affordable printer that also offered scanning and copying. It all sounded great.

But I have to say I’m disappointed with the Dell All-In-One Printer 810. I put too much faith in the Dell brand, figuring that their most affordable printer would meet my requirements, as their most affordable laptop had done. In my work as a freelance writer and editor, I need a printer that makes documents look their best, whether they’re one page or 200 pages long. Of course, I knew an inkjet printer could never be comparable to a laser printer in terms of speed and print quality; but I wasn’t ready to shell out twice the price for a laser printer, and I didn’t think I needed to.

For everyday printing, the Dell All-In-One Printer 810 works fine. If I’m printing something for personal use and I’m not concerned with the quality, my Dell printer works fast enough for me. The product description on the Dell website promised printing speeds of “up to 12 ppm (pages per minute) black and 13 ppm color,” then pointed out that the print speed “will vary with use.” What this means is that the rate of 12 pages per minute for black and white documents applies to lower-quality printing; higher-quality printing takes longer. This only makes sense; however, I wasn’t prepared for how much longer it would actually take to print even a brief document at a higher-quality setting. The “Best” setting is the only setting that reliably produces crisp, readable documents, and of course, it’s the slowest. On average, I’d say the “Best” setting prints at a rate of 2 or 3 pages per minute. The other settings make documents look fuzzy, streaked, or uneven in tone, regardless of how carefully I follow the troubleshooting instructions. And these aren’t graphics-heavy documents-they’re just business letters and manuscripts.

I wouldn’t recommend the Dell All-In-One Printer 810 for copying. Again, the higher the quality, the slower the print speed. A quick copy can be produced at a low-quality setting, which is fine when I want to copy something for my own use. If an editor or client is going to read the copy, however, I have to use the “Best” setting. Copying at this setting is even slower than printing: it takes about a minute to copy a single page. As for scanning, just forget it. The Dell All-In-One printer scans photos adequately, but no amount of time spent on troubleshooting gets this printer to scan even simple black-and-white documents correctly. I inevitably end up with an image that’s full of errors. Admittedly, I’m no tech genius, but I’m tenacious when it comes to troubleshooting, and I can usually figure out problems with products by Dell and other companies if I take the time. Not so with this Dell product.

Finding an effective and affordable printer isn’t as easy as Dell would have you believe. The Dell All-In-One Printer 810 is, unfortunately, one of those products where you have to say, “You get what you pay for.”

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