The Dell 948 All-in-One is a colour inkjet multifunction printer that offers good performance and features for a low price - as many others do. But this model has a few bonuses for higher-volume users.

At first glance, the boxy Dell 948 All-in-One looks unremarkable. It has only a USB connection (Dell sells a 802.11b/g adaptor and a Bluetooth adaptor). Its 100-sheet input tray is small, although its 50-sheet, foldout output tray is sturdy.

And the Dell 948 All-in-One has the media slots for photo printing.

Two of the Dell 948 All-in-One's features, however, are rare in this price range: automatic duplexing and a 25-sheet automatic document feeder. Only the similarly designed Lexmark X6570 can boast the same (and the Lexmark costs nearly twice as much as the Dell). It can even scan a duplex document (with manual intervention) and print a duplex copy - nice for saving paper.

With some multifunction printers, you get lost in all the control-panel buttons; with the Dell 948 All-in-One, there are so few that you could hardly go wrong. The two-line, monochrome LCD communicates all menu options in plain English. When it has to say something longer than a word or two, however, the slow scrolling of a line of text across the display will probably seem tedious. The panel can lie vertically flush with the machine or tilt to a set angle.

Dell's All-In-One Center application offers a tabbed interface for major functions, stepping you through processes and calling up the necessary application, such as ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint for optical character recognition (OCR) or Corel Snapfire for photo editing. Get help by clicking a link in the Dell 948 All-in-One's interface or by going straight to the user guide, which is thorough and provided in both paper and HTML forms.

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