As if to try and make up for the slow print speed, paper feed is really quick, which has two side effects. Firstly, it’s noisy; a high-pitched whiz of gears, which we measured at over 60dBA. Secondly, if a page isn’t completely full of text, it can eject far enough off the output tray, which has no end-stop, that the top edge of the next sheet catches it and pushes the first sheet unceremoniously onto the floor. This happened several times during testing.
A slow print speed can be mitigated if the prints that come out are of very good quality. The Photo 928 produces only fair quality text prints, not as good as several other all-in-ones in this price bracket. There’s some ink spray around small characters, while at the same time paper fibres show through in places, too. Text printed over coloured backgrounds feathers visibly, producing a fuzzy print.
Photo prints are much better, with a good level of detail in the foreground and in areas of shadow. Colours are natural and smoothly varying sky textures are dithered no worse than with rival machines.
There are two ink cartridges in the Photo 928, one black and the other tri-colour, and both of these are available in standard and high-capacity versions. Dell quotes page yields using methodology from a testing lab called QualityLogic, which its web site claims to be the same as ISO testing. We ran tests on black and colour cartridges using the ISO test set and produced figures of 309 pages for the black cartridge and 208 pages for colour. This compares to quoted figures of 450 black and 350 colour.
Since our measured consumptions were much lower than the claims, particularly for the colour cartridge, we used our figures and Dell’s prices of £14.10 and £15.75 for the consumables. This gives a cost per black page of 5.4p, with 12.9p for colour. Both these figures are high, in comparison with other machines in the same class.
Dell’s Photo 928 is a well-made all-in-one, which is easy to set up and use. It has several shortcomings though, in comparison with its main competitors. Its print quality is only fair and it takes a long time to produce pages. The cost per page, if you stick to true ISO measurements, appears quite a lot lower than the quoted figures, giving comparatively high running costs.