* Prices may differ from that shown
Simply bought this printer as it was cheap and cheerful, literally.
Firstly the ink transfer on the paper, even on the highest setting is pretty dire. If you're printing a lot of black expect nothing but bad results. It is quick to set up, easy to install and looks sleek enough all be it cheap & plasticky.
The energy saving mode is a neat feature. Nowadays everyones trying to save a kilowatt here and a kilowatt there and this addition to the printer makes it all the more appealing. The quick mode also does exactly what it says on the tin and will smash out a full a4 page in but a few seconds, perfect for those last minute shopping lists or recipes.
Main use for ours is for recipes and shopping lists, as a photographer though I would never dare to use this in any professional capacity or to even go as far as use it for family photos taken in and around the home as the quality is simply to low.
For £25 you get what you pay for, it's cheap, can be quick, nice enough to look at and won't drain your electricity. Sadly it is also poor in the one area it should at least have had a go at, image quality. This is perfect for buisness's and home admin that's about it. If you want to print your family photos go to Boots and fork out the additional cost to have them done professionally.
It does also have a scanner, it scans stuff what more can I say. Hasn't got an amazingly high resolution but still good enough for everyday things. I used mine to scan my driving license and it did the job to a good enough standard.
The ink cratridges (2 of them) aren't amazingly expensive, you can find them for £10 each although RRP is closer to £16 (so a replacement set is more than the printers price tag). Saying that they'll last a couple hundred pages worth dependant on what your printing.
My advice though, pay out for a better printer.
If you have recently read or re-read my review of the HP Photosmart All-In-One C7280 printer then you will know that all is not well. What initially seemed to be a decent product turned out to be something of a lemon, firstly because of critical software problems and finally when the printer refused to print in black. I am currently at war with PC World, where I bought it, and fully expect to have to take them to court before they will honour their obligations at law.
So, I needed a replacement urgently, seeing as I was not easily going to get the original replaced or repaired. It would have to be cheap. It would not under any circumstances be an HP. It would have to be from anywhere other then PC World. However, I was unlikely to get a network attached printer, as the HP was, at a price that was acceptable. So, what and from where?
The answer presented itself when wandering around our local Tescos hyperstore. On display was a stack of Lexmark X2670 All-In-One printers, each priced at a shade under £30. A look at the specification showed that it had everything I needed. The two drawbacks - only USB attachable, combined colour ink cartridge - I could live with at that price.
Before the HP we had been using another HP printer (also now dead) and a separate Canon scanner, both attached to my wife's laptop. These, of course, used up two of her three USB ports and with the mouse in the third, she had nowhere to attach her thumb drive, which is one of the reasons we ended up getting the last HP. However, as an all-in-one, the Lexmark is both scanner and printer and so only needs a single USB port.
As with most printers, it doesn't come with a USB cable but as I already had one long enough to reach to where it would sit, (backup to the network cable for the HP in case of network problems) that wasn't a problem. I checked the price of Lexmark ink cartridges for this machine (Models 14 - Black, 15 - Colour) and at around £15 for a genuine Lexmark, which does seem to be of a decent size and so not likely to run out too quickly, it seemed that the running costs wouldn't be too high.
The printer is a bit smaller than is usual for an all-in-one printer. The layout is as most, scanner on top under a lid, paper feed stacker at the back, sticking up behind the scanner, printed output delivered to a tray at the front. There is no scanner tray so scanning is strictly one sheet at a time. As you would expect at the price, there are no fancy features such as LCD screens and there is no built in Fax capability although faxing is possible with the supplied software. There are also no data card slots so direct printing without an attached computer is not possible.
The power adapter for the Lexmark very neatly fits into a slot in the back of the casing, so avoiding more clutter on the floor. The only other attachment required is the USB cable. Switching on the power at the mains socket switches on the printer, without touching its own on/off switch. But, we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves as the first thing you have to do before switching on the printer is switch on your computer and insert the supplied installation CD. This will walk you through all of the processes, including getting the printer itself up and running.
The installation process is as user-friendly as it is possible to get. It shows you how to set up the printer and where to insert the supplied ink cartridges. At each stage you confirm that you have completed the task before it moves on to the next. For those who only read the manual under extreme duress, this is great. Finally, when all is correct, you connect the printer up to the computer in order to install the supplied software, including the printer driver.
The rest of the install proceeds smoothly, or should, but more of that later. What you end up with is a new icon on your desktop called the Lexmark Productivity Suite. This gives you access from your computer to the functions provided by the X2670, including faxing, which is not enabled directly from the printer. A test print to prove that the printer has been correctly installed shows that printing is reasonably quick although dependent upon the selected print quality. What it does prove is that the print process is much quieter than with most inkjet printers I have used.
The print quality, in the highest setting, is good, perfectly adequate for home use. I haven't yet tried photo printing: you can do this with the standard ink cartridge set but, as with most two-cartridge printer, a dedicated photo ink cartridge is recommended, which replaces the black cartridge, for best quality photos. I haven't yet invested in one of these: at around £25 a piece I won't be in any hurry!
The control panel is quite simple. At the bottom is the on/off button and beside it the indicators to warn of problems with the cartridges. Above it are the buttons to cancel a print or to eject a sheet of paper. Next you have the scan button, which initiates a scan from the printer and results in the Productivity Suite being launched on the attached computer, with the scanned document displayed.
Next you have the number-of-copies button and next to this the two buttons to provide a direct copy, either in black or in colour. Below these two buttons it the button dedicated to copying a 6"x4"/15x10cms photo laid on the scan bed. And that's about it. All of these functions can also be initiated from the computer.
Or should be...
Having proved that the printer would print OK, the next thing I wanted to try was scanning, since these are the two functions that we most need. I placed a document on the scanner bed and then clicked Scan in the Productivity Suite window. What I got was not a scan; what I got was an error message to the effect that the computer could not communicate with the scanner! So, I pressed the Scan button on the printer instead. This time the scan came through. I tried it again from the computer and this time it worked.
It seems that there is a bug in the Lexmark software that sometimes prevents the first scan after startup being initiated from the computer. However, the problem is intermittent and unpredictable. I haven't yet checked to see if this is a known bug and if there is a fix for it. The supplied version on the CD of the Productivity Suite is 188.8.131.52. Nevertheless, this was not a good sign and it turned out to be an omen of far worse things to come.
Scans of text documents can be converted to text using built-in OCR software; they can also be directly converted to a PDF. The OCR capability will be very much dependent upon the quality of the source document. The Fax capability uses the modem still built in to most computers. The page to be faxed is placed upon the scanner bed and the fax is initiated from the computer, using the modem connected to the phone socket to dispatch it.
The HP printer, being network attached, was available to all computers on the home network, without any computer having to be switched on. The Lexmark requires that the computer to which it is directly attached be switched on and designated in Windows as Shared in order for the printer to be made available to any other computer on the network. With that set up, I set about installing access to it on my own computer.
With no indication to the contrary, it seemed reasonable to insert the installation CD into my own machine and to install the supplied software. I would have expected, as is the case with most printer software of this kind, that the software would act on a peer-to-peer basis with the same software on the host computer, to enable the guest also to use the supplied functions. During installation on the original computer, one of the questions asked was, "Is the printer connected to this machine or another?" That seemed reasonably to indicate that this was possible.
I skipped the printer setup, as this had already been done, and went directly to the software install. All seemed to be going smoothly until it got to the stage where it started installing the software for the scanner function. All of a sudden I got the...
Windows Blue Screen of Death!!!!!
Now, I can't remember when last I saw one of those; I don't think I've ever seen one before since I moved onto WindowsXP. The WindowsXP installation I am using is virtually brand new as I did a reinstall from scratch after the machine was recently returned from Acer after having to be repaired. Clearly this is not due to any other dodgy software.
From this point onwards, things just got worse and worse until the machine was virtually unusable. Another Windows reinstall was the only solution. This I did and, before I installed anything other than the base system, without even the Norton security software, I tried the software reinstall again
Windows Blue Screen of Death again!
Time to see how good Lexmark's Technical Support is. From the Lexmark website you can obtain technical support through a Chat facility and this is what I chose to do. Very soon I got a Lexmark technician on the other end and I then proceeded to describe the problem. During the course of the investgation they asked to install some software on my machine to enable then to have direct control so as to do diagnostics. This I permitted them to do, especially as I intended to reinstall Windows yet again before bringing my laptop back into use. You can refuse permission and even when in action, you can cancel it at any time.
I have to say that all of the technicians with whom I chatted were very professional and friendly. They clearly have a good bunch of people there. However, the conclusion that was finally reached was that in order to install the software without any problems was for firstly to add just the printer driver to my machine just using the Windows "Add Printer" facility and then to individually install the remaining software from the CD on a one-by-one basis, using the "Install Additional Software" option. This worked in that it did not again cause the BSoD.
However, having done all this, the conclusion that was then reached was that none of this software would work on my machine. The only function on the printer accessible remotely is the Print function, and for that only the printer driver needs be installed. This is very disappointing as other manufacturers seem to be able to write support software that does enable remote access to printer functions.
Be that as it may, to provide software that results in the BSoD on installation is unforgivable. It smacks not just of very poorly written software but also of poor testing and quality control. I made my feeling known in no uncertain terms and asked for my observations to be passed on to those who are in a position to take action to ensure this never happens again.
Later, I Googled for other reports of this problem and discovered that I am not alone. It seems to be a known problem and not just in the circumstances in which I found myself. It does seem that you may be taking your life, or at least that of your computer, in your own hands when you install Lexmark software. At the very least I recommend taking a System Restore checkpoint before doing anything. Be aware also that the software that has been installed when the problem occurs can be uninstalled using the Uninstaller on the CD, even if the Uninstaller hasn't yet been installed on your machine.
So, what's the overall verdict? Well, the machine seems to be quite decent and, at the price, good value for money. However, because of the software problems I can only give the package a very qualified recommendation. The software problems I suffered are utterly unforgivable. You may feel that the risks are not balanced by the package price and I would have no argument about that. If you looked elsewhere for a safer option it would be no surprise.