Dell V505 review

by Reads (22,840)

Interested in doing some good when purchasing a new printer?  So are we! That is why we decided to review the Dell V505 All-in-One, one of many Dell items participating in the Product RED project.

DELL V505 SPECIFICATIONS

  • 4-in-1 device: print, scan, copy and fax
  • Print speeds: up to 31 ppm in black, 27 ppm in color
  • Print resolution: up to 4800 x 1200 dpi
  • Scan resolution: up 1200 x 1200 dpi
  • Monthly duty cycle: up to 3,000 pages
  • Automatic document feeder: up to 25 sheets
  • Paper tray: up to 100 pages
  • Built-in duplexing
  • Built-in memory card reader

BUILD AND DESIGN

The V505 All-in-One (AIO) is done in mostly black and gray – unless you decide to purchase the Product RED version – and is average size for an all-in-one inkjet.  Its dimensions (taken from Dell’s website) are 17 x 12.3 x 6.8 inches; its actual dimensions (with both trays extended and pieces connected) are approx. 18 x 38 x 11 inches.

The 25 sheet automatic document feeder resides on top of the scanner lid.  It has one adjustable paper clam for different sized media.

Lift the scanner lid and – shocker – you’ll find the flatbed scanner.  It measurements are approx. 12 x 8.5 inches.
Below the scanner, the top of the printer opens to the inside of the machine.  This is where you install the ink cartridges.  The v505 uses one black cartridge and one color cartridge and have lids that lock into place.

The adjustable control panel consists of a small one line display, a number pad, power button, two arrow keys, a back button, ok/enter button, copy button and cancel button.

The output tray is located below the panel and is about 12 inches long.  When not in use, the tray slides into the printer.

The rear tray – located on the back of V505 – holds up to 100 sheets of paper and has two adjustable paper clasps for different sized media.  The rear tray folds into the printer when not in use.

The built-in card reader – to the right of the control panel – is compatible with several different kinds of media including: SD, MS, xD, MMC, CF and MD cards.  It is also PictBridge enabled.

All of the connections are located on the back of the printer.  You’ll find the phone jack, power cord, Ethernet and USB ports there.  You’ll also find a slot for an internal wireless adapter, if you so choose to upgrade the v505 configuration, which we did.

PERFORMANCE

Setting up the V505
Talk about headaches!  I had a huge one after my initial try with the V505.  I downloaded the drivers, got the through the setup fine but when I went to print the test page I would get a spooling error.  It took me two hours to realize that for some reason the Dell drivers that came with the V505 were not compatible with my Dell Latitude D620.  I tried downloading the drivers from Dell’s site but with no luck.  Eventually, I gave up and tried downloading the drivers on a Toshiba notebook with successful results. 

As of this writing I have reasonable explanation why I could not get the drivers working and have to assume it was an error on the part of my notebook but I could not let the hours of work trying to get the printer setup go unnoticed.

Once I got the drivers downloaded on the Toshiba, I had zero problems with the rest of the setup.  I did the custom install as usual so I could minimize the software I downloaded.  I bypassed all the additional software after my earlier headaches.  When setting up the V505 on a brand new notebook, users might consider downloading some of the additional software – specifically the OCR. 

I installed an internal wireless adapter for the V505 so I could use it on our wireless network and it was by far easier than I imagined.  Of course I might have been expecting the worst after my difficulties with the drivers.  The V505 synched up with our network with little effort from me (I chose the correct network and entered the password).

Ease of use
I found that the V505 was a breeze to use.  The software that was downloaded along with the drivers – the Dell Imaging Toolbox – is a fairly intuitive program to navigate.  Clear, simple menu choices on the home page are followed by easy to use photo, copy and scan editing screens. 

There are four modes to print from in printing preferences: automatic, normal, draft and photo.  I tested them all and I’ll delve deeper into that in the print tests section.

As a stand alone device, I again found the V505 easy to use.  My experience might differ slightly since I used the device on my network but I don’t think using the V505 over a USB connection would vary settings much.

The display may only be one line, but users have the choice to scan, copy or fax directly from the printer control panel.  When scanning or copying, users can choose which computer on the network to send the finished product.

You can also print photos directly from the printer when using the built-in memory card reader.  It’s compatible with a bunch of different memory cards that are standard in digital cameras and the V505 also had a Pictbridge port.

Users can send the V505 into a power saving mode by hitting the power button on the machine once; hold down the same button to shut the V505 down completely.

Print tests
As typical of inkjet machines, I found that the print speeds given by Dell for the V505 to be inflated.  When I performed my usual tests, the V505 printed a dismal nine pages per minute (ppm) in automatic black and white text. In fairness, the quality was good and the bolded subheads in the document really jumped off the page. 

But for those users concerned about times, the V505 jumped up to 17 ppm when printing in draft black and white text. Worried about loss of quality in draft mode? Don’t be.  The Dell V505 performed admirably in draft mode with little to no fading/smudging.   As always, I recommend printing in draft mode to every user/owner of an inkjet printer.

Color speeds in automatic mode were less than advertised by Dell.  The V505 printed my color test job (a medium sized color bar graph with black and white text) at a speed of five ppm. It’s harder to advise people to use draft mode when printing in color because the colors are obviously faded but the V505 printed 14 ppm in color draft mode.

I was pleasantly surprised by the photo quality on the Dell V505.  It did not print the best photos I’ve seen but the colors were bright and the resolution was good when printing in photo quality mode. In Normal mode, you start to lose some detail and there are some noticeable pixels for lack of a better word. 

I would not waste ink or paper printing photos in automatic mode, there was definite loss of color quality and detail.

Print speeds for color photos were as follows: photo quality 4×6 photos in 2:00, normal quality 4×6 photos in 1:04, photo quality 8x10s in 5:15 and normal quality 8x10s in 3:00.  All of the above are average times.

Scan times over the network were good; on average the V505 could scan a full size documents or photo in less than 30 seconds.

The built-in duplexing worked well; users can save money and “be green” when using the duplexer which is a bonus.

PROS

  • Built-in duplexing
  • Built-in card reader
  • Affordable AIO
  • Dell donates to Product RED

CONS

  • Some problems with drivers
  • Print speeds are slower than advertised

CONCLUSION

Other than large headache the driver errors gave me, I enjoyed using the Dell V505.  The software was useful, the devices all worked and the prints were good.  I did find that the print speeds were slower than advertised but this is a problem I run into with multiple manufacturers.  The 17 ppm draft speeds for black and white documents is a decent speed compared to competitors.

But for less than $100, the Dell V505 All-in-One is a good purchase for a home – and Dell will donate a portion of the sale to a good cause!

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

The Dell V505 All-in-One printer is available now on Dell’s website for $79 after $50 instant savings.  Upgrade to the wireless verison for $40 more.


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