Lexmark Platinum Pro905 inkjet multifunction

An inkjet multifunction with Internet-based widgets and a large paper tray

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Lexmark Platinum Pro905
  • Lexmark Platinum Pro905
  • Lexmark Platinum Pro905
  • Lexmark Platinum Pro905

Pros

  • Automatic duplexer, 300-sheet paper capacity, Internet-based widgets

Cons

  • Expensive initial outlay, poor print quality, slow print speeds, some SmartSolutions widgets aren't Mac compatible

Bottom Line

With two paper trays, double-sided printing and Lexmark's SmartSolutions platform, the Platinum Pro905 is a good choice for businesses that print a lot of documents, but it is expensive.

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Lexmark’s Platinum Pro905 is the company's top-of-the-range inkjet multifunction printer. It offers wireless connectivity and Internet-based widgets to make it easier to print, scan and copy both at home and in the office.

The Lexmark Platinum Pro905 is almost identical to the cheaper Prestige Pro805, offering the same connectivity options, touch-sensitive control panel and automatic document feeder. However, Lexmark has added a 33.6Kbps fax modem and a second 150-sheet paper feeder to the bottom of the Platinum Pro905, for a total input capacity of 300 pages.

The inkjet multifunction connects over USB, Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi, and can read SD, MemoryStick, xD and MMC formats through its card reader. As the PictBridge-compatible USB port on the front will recognise USB flash drives, and will even print many document and picture file formats provided the printer is connected to a computer via USB. Memory card and flash drive contents can be accessed from computers connected via USB or over a local network, with a Lexmark utility allowing the latter.

A standout feature of Lexmark’s refreshed multifunction range is the SmartSolutions touch screen: a 4.3in control panel whose quick access buttons (cancel, start and home) conveniently disappear when they aren’t an available option. The control panel isn’t adjustable, but sits at a comfortable angle for use on even higher desks.

Lexmark’s SmartSolutions features are essentially Internet-based widgets that allow you to view basic Web feeds like Google Calendar, RSS feeds and photo viewers, as well as to create one-touch copy and scan buttons with specific settings profiles. Widgets like "Scan to Email" and "Eco Copy" are definitely useful. A Web-based interface could be used for a similar purpose, but the easy set up and ability to sync the same widgets to multiple printers make SmartSolutions useful for printer administrators.

Lexmark SmartSolutions

The SmartSolutions Web site lets you configure widgets for your Lexmark printer.

Though the site works on both Windows and Mac OS X computers, not all widgets are platform agnostic. For instance, Lexmark's much touted "Business Card Scan" widget — which scans, OCRs and automatically inserts contact information into selected address book applications — can only be installed using Windows, since it requires specific OCR and e-mail client software on the connected PC.

Though the SmartSolutions widgets mean you won't have to constantly fiddle with scan settings, you can access them on the printer when necessary. There is also an e-mail address book and history, so you can quickly send scanned images to co-workers without requiring an e-mail client on connected PCs. The scanned images themselves are detailed and of good quality, though the 600dpi maximum resolution won't suit specialist tasks like scanning negatives and slides.

Print Speed Results
Model Price Type B&W Draft
(ppm)
B&W Normal
(ppm)
Colour Draft
(ppm)
Colour Normal
(ppm)
4x6in photo
(seconds)
A4 photo
(minutes)
Lexmark Platinum Pro905 $599 Inkjet 15.7 8.2 17.4 3.9 19s 40s
Canon PIXMA MP640 $299 Inkjet 10.4 8.7 5.7 3.8 32 52s
Kodak ESP 7 $299 Inkjet 12.4 3.9 11.8 3.1 37.1 2
Epson Stylus Photo TX810FW $399 Inkjet 24 8.6 24.8 8.8 29.6 1m 18s
Lexmark Prestige Pro805 $499 Inkjet 16.2 6.6 14.5 2.5 42 2
HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless $499 Inkjet 22.7 14.6 22.9 8.9 31 1m 10s
Canon PIXMA MP990 $449 Inkjet 13.9 11.6 10.2 3.8 36s 1m8s

While the Platinum Pro905 and Prestige Pro805 share the same print engine, the multifunctions’ inconsistent print speeds led to different results in our benchmarks. However, our results show that Lexmark’s high-end inkjet multifunction isn’t the fastest document printer available, particularly considering its price point.

Unfortunately, overall print quality isn’t spectacular either. While readable, text isn’t as sharp as we would have liked from a business-focussed printer, while characters were extremely feathered when superimposed on coloured backgrounds. Even when dry, documents retain an inky look and standard 80gsm paper will be warped if you print colour graphics documents.

Photos lack detail and can appear grainy, even at best quality. Black levels in monochrome photos are also too light, making the Platinum Pro905 a better choice for basic graphics and documents rather than more complex material.

According to the promotional sticker on the Prestige Pro905, the multifunction can print monochrome documents at a cost of 1c per page, but this is in US pricing. In reality, you'd be paying 1.6c Australian, which is still quite cheap for an inkjet. With high-yield colour cartridges, you're looking at a total running cost of 15.5c per A4 page, which is still quite a reasonable ask, though more expensive than comparable laser printers.

The Platinum Pro905’s print quality and speeds won’t satisfy all business users, but the SmartSolutions widgets and low cost per page for monochrome documents are certainly tempting.

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Read more on these topics: Printers, multifunctions, Lexmark

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