PC World tests and reviews the latest multifunction inkjets. Models start at around $100 and combine a printer, scanner, copier and (sometimes) a fax machine.
Lexmark Platinum Pro905 All-in-One Printer
Platinum Pro905 Review, by Susan Silvius, PC World November 2, 2009
Black-and-white speed: 33 ppm; Color speed: 30 ppm; Maximum paper size, height: 14 inches; Maximum paper size, width: 8.5 inches
Web-based apps are promising
Plentiful paper handling
Expensive purchase price
Flesh tones look unnatural
Bottom Line: Web capabilities and generous features make the Pro905 worth considering for a small office, although it's average in other respects.
The Lexmark Platinum Pro905 color inkjet multifunction printer is a well-equipped, competent small-office MFP with a twist: Users can access and view Web-based applications on its large, touchscreen LCD. Though few applications are currently available, the concept has potential. Comparisons to the HP Photosmart Premium Touchsmart Web All-in-One Printer are inevitable, but HP places a greater emphasis on prefabricated apps for consumers, while Lexmark expects its business users to build their own. Both MFPs are pricey, costing $400 at this writing (10/30/09).
The Web capability is just one aspect of what Lexmark calls "SmartSolutions," namely the ability to program a button on the device's 4.3-inch display for walk-up, one-touch execution of a sequence of actions (such as saving scanned PDFs to a specific location on a server). Though the unit includes a few presets, the idea is for you to design sequences for your needs. The SmartSolutions interface for doing so works pretty well, but I would have liked more hand-holding as I ramped up. In addition, the SmartSolutions documentation could be more thorough, as well as easier to find.
The Web presets include the ability to view an RSS feed of your choice, as well as to view and print an agenda from your personal Google calendar. You can even punch in your zip code and then map and print the closest sources of replacement Lexmark ink. Lexmark says it is working on a software development kit, too. Note that Web access works only if the MFP is installed as part of an ethernet or wireless network--not over a USB connection.
The MFP is appropriately equipped for its business audience, including two 150-sheet, letter/legal stacked input trays. The top tray can fit snapshot-size photo paper, while the bottom one is removable. You also get a 50-page automatic document feeder and an automatic duplexer. The somewhat flimsy, 50-sheet output tray slides out from the cover of the top input tray, and can get in the way during paper refills. Media slots accommodate MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, SD Card, and XD-Picture Card; the unit also has a PictBridge port. Lexmark covers the Platinum Pro905 with a five-year parts and labor warranty as long as you register the MFP within 90 days of purchase.
Ink for the Platinum Pro905 is a sweet deal. A high-yield (510 pages), replacement-program black cartridge costs just $5; the color versions (600 pages) cost $18 each. On average that works out to 1 cent per text page and 10 cents per four-color page.
The Platinum Pro905 performed adequately in our tests. At default settings, it printed plain text at a midrange speed of 6.3 pages per minute, and various color graphics at a slower-than-average pace of 2.5 ppm. Most output looked good whether on plain or special paper, with the exception of flesh tones, which looked mottled and unnatural.
Lexmark's Platinum Pro905 all-in-one printer offers two good things for any small office: lots of paper handling and cheap ink. These attributes somewhat make up for the device's middling speed and print quality. Consider this MFP if you're intrigued by the SmartSolutions capabilities, especially the Web access--and if you have the resources to learn your way around them. With some patience and a sense of adventure, you could create some useful apps to make your work life easier.
This story, "Top nine inkjet multifunction printers" was originally published by PCWorld.
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