Mon, 13 Aug 2007 X5470 Review
The low price is this multifunction printer’s most alluring feature
- Manufacturer: Lexmark
- Pros: Built-in colour fax, inexpensive, automatic document feeder, included media card reader
- Cons: Must swap cartridges for photo printing, no individual ink cartridges, no preview LCD, software is inflexible, slow, lines appear in some images
- Min specs: Mac OS X 10.3 or later
- Price: £89
- Star rating:
The Lexmark X5470 is an extremely affordable, all-in-one, inkjet printer that includes some surprising features – a built-in colour fax machine and sheet-fed copier – not expected in bargain-basement models. Print times were on the slow side, and print quality, though good, won’t satisfy picky shutterbugs, but for people on a budget who just want to print email and the occasional photo, and send and receive faxes, the X5470 delivers more than its money’s worth.
Weighing only 14lbs, the Lexmark X5470 is easy to handle and set up. It connects to your computer via USB (Lexmark also offers standard Ethernet connectivity and wireless options for £90 and £145, respectively). The ink system holds only two cartridges at a time. A tri-colour cartridge containing cyan, magenta, and yellow remains installed at all times, but you must swap the photo-colour and black ink cartridges in and out if you want to take full advantage of the printer’s multifunctional capabilities. And while it’s easy enough to lift the printer’s cover to swap cartridges, the X5470 also requires you to run through a printhead alignment regimen on a sheet of plain paper each time you do.
The X5470’s software is simple but limited. Lexmark includes a CD, which performs a smooth installation of the scanner and printer drivers, but once everything is set up, there isn’t much you can change. When printing photos, for example, there’s no option to turn off the printer software’s colour-conversion features. Advanced digital photographers use Adobe Photoshop for photo printing because of its superior colour capability – but this probably isn’t the printer they’d choose.
A little extra
The printer’s faxing and copying functions are convenient for basic use. The X5470 features an automatic document feeder that easily produces quick copies at the press of a button. For faxing, the auto feeder eliminates the need to perfectly align a document on a scanner bed before sending it. Quality and paper settings for copying and faxing are easily accessible through the X5470’s menu panel, but again, customisation options are limited.
Photography fans can print their photos using the printer’s media-card reader. However, the X5470 doesn’t have a preview LCD screen, so you must print a proof sheet displaying thumbnails of every photo on the media card. Then, using a pencil or pen to mark which photos to print, simply scan in your marked-up proof sheet, and the printer fills your order. Unfortunately, there are very few options for print-quality settings when using the menu panel, so unless you need to print a photo as quickly as possible, we’d recommend sticking with the old-fashioned method of importing images into a photo application for more control over the prints.
Though the X5470 turned in sluggish print speeds, taking about four minutes to print a 10-page Microsoft Word document, we thought the output was good in two of our three print tests, especially photographic images that were printed with the photo-colour cartridge installed. There were faint horizontal lines visible on the printed photos, like those found on lower-resolution printers of yesteryear, but the colours were pleasing, if a little on the red side.
Scan speeds were a bit better, but the printer doesn’t offer the same high resolution or colour-bit
depth of most standalone scanners (it outputs only 24-bit files). We rated the resulting images as just fair, with the photo scan being a bit dark and red and the high-resolution test scan lacking the detail found in other multifunction units.