X560n review

Lexmark’s X560n combines a scanner, copier, fax machine, and colour laser printer in one big, boxy multifunction device – it weights almost 41kg and stands 3ft tall – designed for medium-sized workgroups.

Installing the toner cartridges is simple, and so is connecting the device via USB. When we connected the X560n via Ethernet, it appeared automatically in our Bonjour network. Then came the scanner set-up, which was extremely difficult. The X560n only supports network scanning; there’s no USB support. The scanner set-up portion of the user manual was very confusing, and we were unable to configure the scanner to communicate with a Mac over a network.

We contacted Lexmark for assistance. After a Mac user at the Lexmark office couldn’t set up the X560n’s scanner using the instruction manual either, Lexmark rewrote its instructions. Only then could we get the scanner to communicate with our test system. This proved anticlimactic: you can only perform scanning using the control panel, and it offers very minimal scanning options (ie, resolution, black and white, or colour).

Copying on the X560n is straightforward. A button on the control panel allows you to switch between colour and black and white, and you can adjust quality settings with the arrow buttons. The copier did a good job too. In a copy of a Macworld magazine cover, artifacts appeared in bright colours, although the overall image looked slightly over-sharpened.

The X560n’s text output quality was very good, with crisp, legible text. However, in our colour photo test print, colours looked dull, blacks appeared flat, some fine details were lost, and blues were oversaturated. In our graphics, fine lines, and gradients test, the results were fairly good – graphics and gradients looked pleasing, although noticeable bends appeared in fine lines. Our test scans of a picnic photo and fine-line chart were decidedly average. Reds were oversaturated, blacks looked flat and fine lines appeared a bit fuzzy.
The X560n’s strength is speed. It took 15 seconds to print a one-page Word document, 31 seconds to print a 10-page Word document, 1 minute 57 seconds to print a 22MB Photoshop image, and 40 seconds to print a four-page PDF.

OUR VERDICT

Even though Lexmark’s X560n is fast, difficult scanner set-up results in a hit to productivity on the Mac. The X560n’s average overall performance combined with its lack of Mac friendliness means you’d be better off looking at alternative multifunction options.

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