Lexmark's budget multi-function device includes a fax and an automatic document feeder.
- Low price, built-in fax and automatic document feed
- Slow photo printing, mediocre overall print quality
If you need a cheap combination of printer, scanner, fax, and copier for a home office in which speed and quality are of no concern, the Lexmark X5470 could be a good choice. But if you need to make a good impression, consider spending a little more money.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The Lexmark X5470 cuts some corners to achieve its exceptionally low $249 price tag, but it still packs a remarkable set of features for the money. It has a 33.6Kbps colour fax capability and an automatic document feeder that can take 10 pages at a time. The glass platen allows flatbed scans up to letter-size, but you can feed legal-size paper through the automatic document feeder.
The control panel lacks a colour screen, instead sporting a less-expensive backlit two-line monochrome LCD. The buttons, which Lexmark has arranged logically enough around the LCD, include a numeric pad for fax dialling. The two media slots accept most digital camera memory cards, but you have no way to preview images without a colour LCD. If you plan to work mostly from your PC, however, the lack of a colour LCD is largely irrelevant. However, you can print a proof sheet, mark which images to print, and run it through the scanner. Image-enhancement options include red-eye removal and colour effects. The PictBridge port lets you print directly from your digital camera. You can also print from a USB flash drive plugged into the PictBridge port; Lexmark doesn't offer a Bluetooth adapter.
The unit's single upright paper feeder at the rear holds up to 100 sheets. No paper-handling upgrades are available. Out of the box the X5470 uses four inks in two cartridges, including a pigment-based black ink for text printing. You can replace the black cartridge with one containing pigment-based light cyan, light magenta, and black inks for six-ink printing on photo paper.
In our print-quality tests using the standard cartridges, text printed darkly, but characters could have been crisper and we saw much horizontal banding. Line art suffered from fuzzy lines, gritty textures in closely spaced blocks, and some narrow banding. Photos that were printed with four inks on plain paper looked atrocious -- a combination of overly visible dithering, fuzzy details, banding and posterisation effects. However, glossy photos that were printed using all six inks looked much better, if slightly grainy. They fell short of the best quality we saw from competing MFDs, though. Scan quality also was below par, but as a copier the X5470 did a decent job for an inkjet.
Against the stopwatch text printed relatively quickly, at 9.8 pages per minute (ppm). Plain-paper graphics arrived much more slowly, at 2.1ppm; whereas on glossy letter-size paper, our sample photo trickled out in 94 seconds. A 100dpi scan of our 4x5in test image emerged after a slow 10.2 seconds; photocopies averaged a tedious 1.9ppm.
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