Dell Photo All-In-One 966

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Dell Photo All-In-One 966
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5


  • Built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and fax; includes automatic document feeder


  • Slow printing, must swap cartridges for photos

Bottom Line

Despite combining plenty of functions in a single unit, the Dell Photo All-In-One 966 isn't a good value for the money due to its modest quality and performance. It's nice that you can configure the unit with several options, but you're looking at quite an investment (about $576) if you choose them all.

Would you buy this?

This multi-function device (MFD) offers a fax, an automated document feeder, wireless networking, and many upgrade options, but print quality isn't tops.

The Dell Photo All-In-One 966 comes at a base price of $299, or $379 that adds wireless networking. The user-installed network card supports both 802.11b and g standards, and has a wired Ethernet port as well. A host of other features and options make the 966 a powerful tool for a home office or small business.

The unit includes a 33.6Kbps colour fax machine and an automatic document feeder that can handle up to 50 sheets at a time. The flatbed scanner accepts documents as large as letter size, though you can feed legal-size documents through the ADF. The main paper cassette can hold up to 150 sheets. The output tray sits on top of the cassette and includes a bypass slot that lets you manually feed a single envelope or a sheet of 4x6-inch photo paper. (You can print several at a time by loading a stack of either type into the main cassette.) For $89.10 you can add a second 150-sheet paper tray. An optional duplexer for making two-sided prints costs $89.10.

The 2.4-inch colour LCD pivots to your preferred viewing angle. A logically arranged set of buttons to the right of the screen lets you navigate the menus and preview images, and a numeric pad lets you dial fax numbers. The four media slots can read all of the popular digital memory card formats. Built-in editing functions let you fix red-eye and crop images, but the 966 lacks options for automatic photo enhancement, colour effects, and creative borders. You can print proof sheets of the images on your memory card, but these lack the optical reader markings that rival MFPs use to let you select which images to print.

A PictBridge port lets you print directly from your digital camera, as well as print images from a USB flash drive. For printing wirelessly from a suitably equipped camera phone or PDA, you can also attach a third-party Bluetooth adapter to the PictBridge port--Dell recommends purchasing the Internal Wireless and Ethernet Adapter for $99.

Two ink cartridges come in the box: The first contains three dye-based colour inks, and the other uses a pigment-based black ink designed for printing strong text on plain paper. However, our panel of judges was unimpressed with the unit's printing on plain paper. The text was dark, but edges looked fuzzy and we noticed significant banding. Our line-art sample was a mess due to major horizontal banding. Photos printed on plain paper looked grainy, with spotty textures, faded colours, and yet more banding. For our photo-paper tests, we replaced the black cartridge with an optional photo colour cartridge that adds lighter cyan and magenta inks for printing with six inks in total. We were more pleased with the results, but the quality didn't quite match that of the best MFDs we reviewed at the same time. Though the 966 turned out decent-looking photos, the colours seemed a little faded, faces lacked some detail, and the darkest areas had a reddish tint. In our scanner and copier tests, the Dell stood up well to the competition, producing good quality results for each.

The 966 didn't set any speed records. On plain paper it turned out text slightly below the average, at 7.7 pages per minute (ppm), and graphics at a measly 1.9ppm. Our image printed on glossy photo paper in 84 seconds, just under twice as long as the 45-second average of the eight MFDs we tested this month. Scanning our 4x5-inch photo composite at 100dpi took 10 seconds -- not bad compared to models we tested over a year ago, but now rather run-of-the-mill. Text pages copied at the test-group average of 3.1ppm.

Dell supplies a good software bundle, including Corel Photo Album 6 for organising and printing your image collection, Corel Paint Shop Pro X for editing images, and ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint for OCR.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?