Lexmarkís latest all-in-one
By Ian Burley
This week is full of all-in-one news with the announcement of the HP Officejet 6110 (click here) and the Lexmark X5150 (below). While Lexmark is clearly targeting the budget end of the market with the X5150, the HP 6110 is firmly at the upper end.
Sales of traditional printers and scanners are not growing anywhere near as fast as they have done in recent years. But one segment of the market is growing very fast and thatís all-one-ones, combining printer and scanner hardware to deliver a single multi-function device that often includes fax and photocopying facilities.
In the past, some all-in-ones used cheaper components in order to keep costs down and colour photo scanning and printing were low on the feature list if present at all. But with the rise of the digital camera, photo features are now often one of the star attractions.
Lexmark certainly pitch their X5150 as a photo-friendly solution. Itís a small footprint printer and scanner in a single unit and has a pretty striking look. The scanner has a maximum optical resolution of 600x2400 and the CCD sensor is rated to 48bit colour sensitivity, technically exceeding the requirements of typical photo scanning.
On the printing side, the X5150 uses the same 4800x1200 (max) dpi print engine from the Z65 printer (click here). This has a variable droplet print head capable of making dots from droplets as small as 3 picolitres, which is almost the smallest in the industry. However, Lexmark depends on three colour inks instead of three plus two photo colour shades that its rivals use to reduce dot grain and improve tonal smoothness.
Pigment black ink does ensure high quality printing onto plain paper and the claimed maximum throughput of 19 pages per minute for black text and 14ppm for colour (not photos) is amongst the fastest available. The printer also features auto paper sensing and auto head alignment. Borderless photo printing is not supported by the X5150. Introductory photo editing software is included.
As its relatively low price of £179 hints at, the X5150 does not have some of the luxury stand alone operational features of more expensive all-in-ones. Fax operation is run from a host PC using BVRP software bundled with the unit. If you want the X5150 to be your full time fax machine, the host PC needs to be switched on all the time too.
Stand alone copier
However, black and white and colour photocopying can be done without the host PC switched on. This includes reduction and enlargement of originals between 25% and 400% in size. Once a copy has been scanned, facsimiles can be churned out at a rate of up to 16 copies per minute in mono draft mode or 12 copies per minute in colour draft mode.
For conversion of text documents to text files, through scanning, that can be edited, Lexmark supplies ABBYY FineReader Sprint Optical Character Recognition software.
X5190 office version
At £179, the X5150 is destined for a lot of home users. For about £20 more, Lexmark has repackaged the X5150 as the X5190 aimed more at business users and while itís the same basic hardware and software package, the X5190 is supplied with higher capacity ink cartridges and a longer (3 year) warranty.