Speed and quality tests
As usual, I could not get an inkjet printer to actually print over 30 ppm. The P713w was not close to printing 33 ppm even when printing in Quick Print mode. When printing a black and white text only document, the fastest the P713w printed was 16 ppm with a first page out in about 9 seconds.
In Automatic mode, the P713w prints at a pace of about 10 ppm with a first page out in about 13 seconds when printing strictly black and white documents. Which is decent compared to its peers. When you throw color in to the mix, the P713w slows down to about 7 ppm with a first page out in about 19 seconds.
Comparing the Automatic mode to the Quick Print mode, I printed the same 38 page text only document twice. In Automatic mode, it took on average 4 minutes, 6 seconds. In Quick Print mode, the P713w printed the document on average in 2 minutes, 33 seconds.
Quality wise, the Automatic mode is the clear winner with solid, easy to read text but I was impressed with the draft mode quality. The type was almost identical with a few exceptions; the main difference was the color. The Quick Print documents were just slightly faded version. Let me put it this way; if I was running low on ink, I would have no problem turning in a term paper that was printing in Quick Print mode.
The P713w is a photo printer, hence the P in the name. Speed wise, I thought the P713w did a good job printing photos. On average, the P713w printed an 8.5×11 color photo in 1 minute, 30 seconds in Automatic mode. Obviously, speed varies on individual prints but the P713w printed an 8×10 color print as quick as 1 minute, 10 seconds.
As for 4×6 prints, I found the P713w could print a borderless photo in about 30 seconds in any mode. As I said before, individual print speeds vary, but the P713w kept print speeds under a minute for every 4×6 photo I printed.
There is no “photo” mode in the P713w print settings but judging by the paper selected and print size the P713w did a good job differentiating between color prints on copy paper as opposed to photo paper. And honestly, I thought the P713w did a pretty decent job on large color images on copy paper.
The colors in all the photos printed by the P713w were vibrant; they didn’t bleed into each other. I did notice some distortion in my 4×6 prints that were lower resolution images. It was a linear pattern cutting across the image, clearly visible. I did not notice any such problem with 8×10 photos I printed but typically 8×10 images are going to be high resolution or your photo printing program will throw some sort of error.
I mention this only because many people (myself included) print low resolution photos taken from the internet. On the computer screen they look great, but the printed image is less than stellar. You can check the resolution of a photo by clicking on properties.
Ink control test
In our tests, we exhaust (printing until the color runs out) a new set of cartridges; exhaustion meaning the printer will not print another “quality” document without a replacement. We print at a ratio of three full pages of black and white text to one full page of color. We decided on the 3:1 ratio because we felt that the average user is printing more text than color.
The Dell P713w includes one Dell Series 21 standard-capacity black ink tank and one Dell Series 21 standard-capacity color tank, a mix of cyan, yellow, and magenta.
At the ratio of 3:1 in Dell’s Automatic Printing Mode, the P713w printed 294 pages before the Series 21 color ink tank expired (ran out of ink) with the Series 21 black ink tank close behind. At this point, the Series 21 threw two identical error messages – one on my pc, the other on the printer control panel – saying that printer did not have enough ink to maintain print quality. And while I did have the option to continue printing in black only, the job was cancelled once the ink ran out so you would have to start over.
I had one paper misfeed while testing the P713w that was easily corrected by pulling out the duplexing unit. I also feel like the misfeed might have been caused by having too much paper loaded in the cassette.