* Prices may differ from that shown
My trusty all in one printer has sat on the desk next to its partner the monitor for a couple of years now. Before meeting the monitor and their relationship started, the poor printer sat all alone getting dusty on a shelf in the dining room, only ever being visited when someone wanted to use and abuse him.
The printer is wireless and that was the main reason we bought him two years ago. He's still very much a part of the family and hasn't decided to leave just yet despite getting a little older.
**Model and functions **
The Lexmark X4550 is sold for around £99 which includes bundles of ink. It's not the most modern printer, but still has enough functions to work well against newer models.
Despite being called a printer, the X4550 is actually a scanner as well as a copier.
** Appearance **
The X4550 comes in a subtle shade of grey with contrasting white plastic casing which surrounds the scanner lid and top area of the printer. It hosts a small screen that provides the user with instructions as they are using it as well as a variety of buttons to differentiate between modes and uses.
There is a smaller area containing a small variety of slots for different sized SD cards on the right hand side. This sits under a large flashing button also known as the wifi signal.
Overall the appearance of the printer is nice. It's slightly bulky compared to newer models; however it doesn't look too out of place much like older mobile phone models would compared to new.
** Ink **
The prices of ink for the X4550 are on the average scale when comparing to other brands and models. The printer takes two cartridges, black and colour (23 & 24). You can however choose to print just in black, and also utilise the colour when black is running low. Each cartridge will set you back around £20 each.
Inserting the ink into the printer is an easy process with just a click of a lid and the old cartridge pops out and the new one can be slotted in. This is one of the easier models of printer I have used for changing the ink.
** Setting Up **
When you use the printer for the first time, you will have to sync it with your PC or laptop etc. The back of the printer hosts a power lead and also a cable to attach to the computer before you engage the wifi. A disc is provided with the printer, or you can download drivers straight from the internet should you need them.
I found this an easy process and once synced, I have never found a problem with sourcing the wifi signal. This does seem to take it's time if it's away from the main router.
** Feeding paper **
The paper aligns in a downward motion to the printer. The paper home can take a decent thickness of paper, and the rollers appear to be lasting me quite a lot time without seeing the need to stop working correctly as yet. I have never had a problem with miss feeding, or taking two pages as once, so I am quite impressed with this.
** Scanning **
The scanner is well marked out with positions and sizes of paper. This is easy to use with the linked imaging software that comes with the printer installation. It's not a function I use very often on the printer, but one I am pleased to have for those little emergencies like needed to scan in a bill or pay slip etc.
** Quality **
I find when using this printer with official inks then the quality is a lot better than when using replacement inks. However with the correct inks, I have never come across any smudging or marking of the paper. The colours are perhaps a little duller than some more expensive models of printer, and when printing photos, I find there are faint lines as the printer cannot keep up with the photo quality, but overall decent quality for what you pay for.
When scanning, I find the images to be clear and concise.
** Overall **
Overall this printer stands up well against other models. It's perhaps not worth the £99 retail price that it seems to be selling for now, however I would happily pay around £50 for it.
The Lexmark X4550 is an all-in-one-printer by Lexmark.
The Lexmark X4550 most certainly doesn't look bad. It has a respectable chassis and an inviting design. Its gleaming silver paint is inviting to even the most sceptical of printer buyers around. It looks sleek, it looks easily manageable and most of all, it looks simple yet complex. There is a small LED Screen that informs you of what you need to know of your printers' status, and also buttons below it that will help you navigate it. It's got easily marked buttons like 'Print Mode', 'Copy Mode' and 'Scan Mode' to easily introduce what the printer can do, and getting it to do them is usually as easy as one two three (I'll talk about when it's not later on in the review). It's a shame that the looks of a product are most certainly not more important than the usability of the product, because if it were, Lexmark would have quite easily stowed away top marks on this printer.
The printer is most certainly not quiet. It makes a racket whenever you want to print something and produces a dull sound as it scans or copies. You can quite obviously hear the sound of the printer swooping back and forth under the cleverly designed chassis, and I definitely wouldn't choose to use this at night, as it is in my bedroom and it can be heard throughout the entire top end of the house, waking up friends, family or angry neighbours. The sound is certainly not satisfactory, and the printing is definitely not quick, so you have to with-stand the sound un-necessarily for a long time. Sadly, the sound of the printer is not the only thing that feels stupidly clunky to use...
It's an all-in-one printer, and a scanner is definitely included in that package. At first you're probably jumping for joy that you can scan in your elaborative art work or your carefully written up childhood essay, but no. It's not that simple. First you are required to install what for some people may be counted as fiddly and extremely large file size driver software. For the Windows 7 64-bit version, the drivers were a whopping 200mb, far above from what I'd even expect from the best of drivers. And this is certainly not what I'd expect to class as 'the best of drivers'. The scanning component actually very rarely works. I wished that it would be as simple pushing a button. No. You have to set it up on your computer, click the scan button on the computer, and then push scan on the printer. It will search for other computers on the network, which is a rather good sign, but occasionally, for some bizarre reason it can't find any of the four computers with the drivers installed on the network.
Ok then, let's try again. A list of computers appears in no less than one minute and forty-five seconds. It's a long time to find the computers of the network, especially when the computer in question was only a few centimetres away from it. It was very far from the longest quest to find the computer that you'd expect it was trying to go on with the amount of time it took. You select the computer you would like to scan to. It then informs you that it is 'Downloading Application Data'. This is possibly the most nail-biting procedure associated with the scanning. It can take a whopping five minutes, and it's like a multiple choice where there is only one correct answer, and sometimes it refuses to give it to you. By that I mean it sometimes tells you 'Error Downloading Application List' 6 minutes into it. It's extremely irritating, but you may feel compelled, as I did, into trying as hard as you can to get it scanned. Once it produces the application list, only a few of them will work. I found that they only ones that worked properly were 'MSPaint', 'Photoshop CS4' and 'PAINT.NET', as the printer called them. It was pain-staking, but eventually I got the image scanned. Thankfully, it seemed a blessing that the scanning quality was actually really quite good when it was done. Just irritating that it couldn't have done it quicker.
The picture quality is certainly not bad. The printing is far easier than the aforementioned scanning abomination and the images that come out of the printer are handed to you in fair detail with the least difficulty required. It's not a flawless picture quality, but it is definitely, definitely not bad. The text is readable, the ink sustainable for a long time and the colours vivid and living. For the most part anyway. For once, I was happy with the Lexmark printer, because the pictures remained unskewered by misjudgement inside the printer and the text was crystal clear and readable. This is probably one of the very best bits about the printer. But then again, that isn't saying too much.
Remember a few sections ago I said that it made an excruciating noise when printing, yeah? Well, this isn't helped by the fact that printing takes the printer equivalent of an ice-age. It sits there, warming up wooting and vrooming with sounds of mechanical mayhem before letting out a printing-related electronic sigh and setting to work extremely nosily on your piece of paper. It takes about a minute, a minute of listening to your printer chugging, wooting and making funny noises is certainly not great, but it's bearable, and not again, it's understandable for the quality of the images outputted. Still better than the scanner, though.
The colours that are printed with this printer tend to be bright, easy to see and vivid. It's one of the most colour distinctive printers that I have ever used, and it easily distinguished between what was a slightly lighter green and what was a slightly darker green. The colours were practically flawless, it's a feature that I have seen in other, more expensive printers being done better, but for the price of the printer, this is certainly not bad. Especially since some of the other features, *coughs and looks at scanning*, are not so great.
The printing is fairly reliable, it follows your every demand most of the day, unless you have outdated drivers installed on your computer. Every time you need to print it gives you two authentically easy to follow errors 'Problem connecting with the printer' (You're standing in the way of the wireless or you forgot to turn it on), and 'Out of Paper'. (You need to put more paper in). Other than that, it will simply inform you that the 'Printing has started' and you will quickly beging to see the printer whirring and fizzing (metaphorically) as it spits out your piece of printer paper elegantly onto your hand. It's only the scanner that only works when it feels like it, the rest of the components on this printer are fantastic for reliability, especially since the printer has yet to break down or need maintenance, as I would usually expect a two year old printer to need.
Value for Money
It's not a cheap printer, but it's a good printer. It delivers good quality images and can copy in black and white or colour. It's fantastic really, and one of the better printers that I have used. There are problems associated with it, such as the terrible scanner and the occasional connectivity problems, but other than that, this Lexmark printer is a good use of your money. But if you're planning on regularly using the scanner, don't skimp on the price, pay a little bit more for something with a more reliable scanner. That would be the best use of your money. Also, the ink cartridges are £19.99 in my experience, but they last enough time for the price that you pay. The ink cartridges advertised by the driver software however was £30 last time I checked, and for that reason I have yet to buy one of those. I doubt that they would be much different to the ink cartridges that I buy at retail.
Sadly, the instruction manual provides very little in the way of honest, achievable help. It tells you exactly what you have been doing for the past hour to get the scanner working and then tells you, if it's not working, to go out and buy a 'PictBridge' cable, which isn't included with the printer. It's an OK manual, in the way that it tells you a step-by-step on how to do it, but it has nothing at all in the way of troubleshooting! I thought this was terrible, but I'm assured that some people will disagree with me and find the manual extremely helpful, especially if it's one of their first times using a printer of similar device.
The support of the Manufacturer was pretty bad. They didn't realise a Windows 7 based driver for a total of 4 months after its release, meaning that my printer was completely out of action during that time, and also forcing me to print it out at friends' houses or at school. It definitely wasn't ideal, and the responses about the development of drivers were appalling. They didn't even reply to my email about the scanner. Probably due to the fact that they have noticed that it doesn't work and have dropped any support they may have held for it, allowing the people to work it out of themselves or to simply let it be if it doesn't.
The drivers in the printer allow for cool little features like the printing of collages and the application of fancy effects. However, this is not an excuse for the dodgy drivers, because even the cheaper versions of Adobe Photoshop could quite easily beat the drivers ability to add filters and effects. It's definitely not worth the extra megabytes for a feature that the majority would go and use a dedicated application to create. It suggests where you can buy ink when it runs out, but that isn't really noteworthy because it's so expensive compared to ink we buy at retail. They're lucky I didn't subtract points for that blatant advertisement of 'premium' ink.
In conclusion, this is a fine, and good printer. It is definitely not to be bought for the usually out of action scanner, the average drivers and the terrible customer support. It may look nice, but at the end of the day, looking nice comes last to the features that makes the printer do what it says on the box. If you're planning on doing a lot of scanning, this is definitely not a printer for you. If you're planning on doing a lot of printing, and extremely quietly and fast, you can probably do better. If you have a cheap and cheerful personality and really would like a functional printer, no matter the noise and speed, as long as it brings out the colour on your photographs. This is the printer for you. I award this Lexmark printer a total of three stars of a possible five.
I'd better start this by stating that although I love a good computer game, I'm not a printer expert by any means! In all honesty, I find them all a bit confusing with all their functions and doodahs and buttons (that inevitably never get used) and so on. But hey, I'm hoping that this review will appeal to the less techie-minded amongst us. Anyway, we've got two printers at home but the Lexmark X4550 inkjet is my basic printer primarily because it's got an inbuilt scanner/copier and it's also wireless, so I can connect it to my laptop and the desktop PC without having to fiddle about with various different cables.
The Lexmark X4550 is an attractive bit of kit. It's silver and light grey in colour, rectangular (29cm by 45cm) with a standard paper feed at the top and an extendible tray at the bottom to catch the printouts before they fall all over the floor. Unlike some models of printer I've had, the paper tray actually works and nothing ever seems to go on the floor. I haven't weighed the printer myself but according to Lexmark it's 5.8kg. The top of the printer lifts up to reveal a 48-bit A4 flatbed scanner, and on a sticking-out bit just under the scanner is a very high-tech looking 'console', which has the power buttons, controls and a backlit LCD display for status information and instructions. To the right of the 'console' is the wireless active/inactive light, which tells you if the wireless is working or not; underneath this are two memory card slots and a socket for connecting a camera directly to the printer. You can connect the printer to a computer with a USB socket which is at the back along with the mains cable.
The printer arrived in a large cardboard box with what seemed like a ton of packaging (I understand that the manufacturer doesn't want to damage their goods in transit, but all those extra little sticky blue strips and the millions of extra foamy bits just seem...wasteful to me.) The box also contained an installation CD, an instruction manual, a quick start guide and some cartridges. Once I'd got it out of its trappings, setting the beast up was actually very simple - far easier than setting up the Canon had been, for example.
I wanted to connect it to both the main PC and my laptop, so I did both the USB and wireless installation - USB was a doddle, just stick the CD in and the software pretty much sorts it all out. I liked how easily it 'found' the printer without me having to fiddle about with it for ages. Wireless setup is a little bit trickier but still pretty easy: it needs to be connected by USB while it's installing, but again the CD takes you through the installation process quite well and I didn't have any initial problems. A word of warning - I've got reliable and usually steady wireless connection, but I reckon that if your wireless connectivity isn't that good or tends to be erratic, getting this printer to work would be a real pain.
The CD also downloads the "Lexmark Solution Centre" software onto your computer, which I must admit I've never actually used but has the means to maintain your printer and also contains Imaging Studio in which you can download images, scan documents and turn pages into text you can edit.
I'm going to be fair about this and say that in general, the Lexmark X4550 is a reasonable printer. I've been using it for about 1 year now and it generally performs well: I've printed hundreds of pages, including photos, and they've always turned out well. Scanning and copying, too, have usually been easy and the documents come out clear and readable. I've printed a couple of photos onto photo paper and they've been passable - not great but clear enough. I'm particularly keen on the 'standalone copy' function, which means you can just stick your document into the scanner, press 'copy' and out comes the copy - no need to scan it in then print it out. The function is available in black and white and colour.
On the other hand, the print speed isn't always brilliant and it certainly isn't up to the speed advertised: Lexmark would have you believe that this machine can do 15 pages per minute in black and 6 pages per minute in colour, but in reality I tend to find it's more like 5 or 6 pages per minute in black and white, with colour being MUCH slower. It's not terrible, but when you need something in a hurry it can be frustrating.
It's also a very noisy printer. For some unapparent reason, the printing software has a loud, American voiceover which bellows, "PRINTING STARTED!" as soon as, well, printing has started, and "PRINTING COMPLETE!" when, you guessed it, printing is complete. Coupled with the loud, not to mention weird, "SHREEE! SHREEE! SHREEE!" noise the printer itself makes, it all makes for a less than relaxing experience. Fine if the printer is tucked away in a study somewhere, much less so if it's in a living room or open-plan area. You've been warned!
As I've said, I've had the printer for about a year and honestly hadn't had any problems with it until recently. It's easy to use, intuitive and clearly organised in terms of buttons and trays etc. Lately, however, it's been quite erratic in its habits - sometimes it's fine, at other times it refuses to communicate with the computer no matter what I do. I'm certain it's not a problem with the wireless as everything else to do with the wireless works fine. It's also prone to stopping suddenly and deciding that it's lost the connection with my laptop in the middle of printing a page, which is seriously annoying. These problems seem to be restricted to wireless use, as printing from the desktop PC via USB still works absolutely fine.
The Lexmark X4550 takes two cartridges: black and colour. You can buy official Lexmark ones but there are also cut-price compatible cartridges available (Lexmark say that using these voids the warranty, but frankly I don't mind this and would rather not pay full whack for branded ones). Really I'd prefer to see individual coloured cartridges as it avoids waste when you run out of one colour, but I think this may well be a feature of a slightly newer printer so I can't complain too much. In terms of how much printing you can get out of the cartridges, it's difficult for me to say as I do a variety of different types of prints - sorry to be so unspecific, but I do know that they last a fair while if you're not printing photos, which I rarely do. Genuine Lexmark cartridges cost about £15 per cartridge and the cut-price ones are about £10 each.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
I bought my Lexmark X4550 for about £90 a year ago. It's now been discontinued and is difficult to find, but if you're desperate to find one, I have seen them in my local Currys so check there. If not, I'd recommend second-hand or refurbished PC goods shops.
This is a good bit of kit that performs reasonably well and is relatively cheap to run. It's by no means perfect, though, and I'm also sure that there are far better and newer models out there with less erratic wireless technology. Go for it if you manage to find a cheap one in a second-hand shop and you're happy to just use it as a USB connected printer.
I bought this printer for its most attractive feature - wifi adapter. Unfortunately, it isn't a very dependable way, even thought it may seem very convenient not to have the occurence of tangled cables under the desk. In my experience, the printer has frequent problems communicating with the computer. For example, when scanning, the computer often fails to "download the application list". Troubleshooting brochures and intructions advise to restart the computer or to unplug the printer from the power source and the plug it back it. After doing so a couple of times the printer usually succeeds. In the worst case scenario, I am forced to reinstall the drivers which always helps. Communicating with the computer is only an issue for scanning, not for printing. The print quality is at best average, whereas its speed is below average. The low price for this kind of a printer is reflected in relatively pricy cartridges which dont't last very long. X4550 is a printer with irritating glitches. If not an everyday-use printer, then it is a good buy.
The Lexmark X4550 printer is a very good wireless printer for home users, featuring a built-in scanner capable of high resolution scans and fax capabilities.
This Printer/scanner is an ink-jet style using cartridges black 23 and colour 24 which are fairly expensive ranging between £15 to £20 for No.23 and £20 to £25 for No.24, they can however be bought in a pack containing both cartridges for around £30, however if like me you print a lot of documents with text rather than pictures, you will find you have an excess of colour cartridges after a while.
The scanner also operates as a straight forward photocopier which is what I find I have the most use from, and for this purpose the X4550 is outstanding. The balck and white photocopy does lack some detail in the prints but the colour photocopy is almost an exact duplicate, producing excellent quality prints.
The X4550 does come equipped with a multi-card and usb reader interface but I was disappointed to find out that the format I use SDHC is not compatible.
The wireless connectivity of this device is superb and I have found it invaluable. Any number of wireless enabled printers can be connected to this printer and print from any room in your house, Windows Vista does seem to have a few problems with sending the whole print through to the printer and I tend to have only one or two pages of a document print out, but XP has no problems what so ever.
Overall a great printer, the ink a little on the expensive side but the quality and speed of print are very good.
All in one printers are defiantly the future in printing. Basically for all those who don't know, an all in one printer is one which not only prints, but scans too, and some even have other capabilities too.
Getting an all in one works out a lot cheaper than buying things separately, also it looks a lot better than having a load of separate devices everywhere, and of course it also saves a lot of space on your desk.
Lexmark make a lot of printers and all in ones these days, this Lexmark X4550 is at the higher end of the range, however it will only cost you a great, £65 from most places.
The design of this model is very stylish indeed. It is like a very cool rounded slab design and is three main colours. White, aluminium and light grey.
The top white part of the printer is home to the scanner, this is very easy to use and you can either scan to computer image, scan to email or you can even copy without the use of the computer, this is great if you want to save a bit of time scanning something and you don't want to wait for the computer to load up.
Scanning is really fast too, id say it takes just about 20 seconds to scan to image or email, and it takes about 1 minute to scan a photo and print it off using the scanner without a computer.
Underneath the top section is a very simple function panel, this also has a lcd panel, which has a backlight too, this is good however I would have liked to see Lexmark add a colour screen panel onto here so that you could view photos and other things before you print them off.
Why I say this colour screen would be nice to see photos is because to the right hand side of this are 2 memory card slots, also there is a usb port for plugging your digital camera straight into the printer and printing your photos off, so it is a real shame that there's not a colour screen to use this option in its full capability.
However using the buttons and the lcd screen it is still easy to select what pictures you want to print off, then select the print options and print your pictures easily.
A pull out paper tray at the bottom is easy to pull out and put away and this is where your documents end up when there finished printing, one bad thing about this is that its not really big enough and sometimes the paper just falls off the end of the printer and onto the floor.
At the back of the printer is the paper feeder, this is basically where you put your paper and it feeds it into the machine to be printed onto.
Also at the back is where the power cable comes out of, this just plugs straight into a socket.
Also at the back then, is the usb port, you plug a usb cable into this and then the other end into your pc, this is then really easy to set up and you do even get software, however you don't necessarily have to use it to get your printer working.
There is also a wireless connection you could use to print things off with this printer. This is really tricky to set up, so its best to read the instruction manual first. But basically you need to run a separate wireless installation routine first, whilst the printer is still plugged into the computer via usb before you can unplug it and eventually go wireless. This is great when you get it working, as it means that everyone in your wireless network can use this printer.
You could have the printer somewhere, anywhere in the house, and be able to print off from a computer or a laptop anywhere in the house.
This printer really does print off documents really clearly and even text looks really smooth as on some printers it just looks a bit blurry. Also photos on this are good too, there are better printers for photos however this Is a good all round printer and for just £65 then you cant go wrong with a Lexmark X4550.
I purchased the Lexmark x 4550 printer around half a year ago. The reason behind my buy was not reallt about the quality, but the great £50 price, I just needed a cheap printer. Surprisingly though this has performed well beyond my expectations.
The main thing going for this printer is its wifi capabilties. There are many things that the wifi can be used for. You can pair it up with wifi devices like say phones to send photos for quick printing. It can also be paired up with to your wifi network, any computer on the network can print off it with ease. Because this uses wireless to connect to other computers there is only one wire coming off it, a power cable. It can be put anywhere in your house as well, it does not need to be anywhere near the wifi router, which is great.
I personally think the printer looks pretty cool. It is very stylish and has some nice materials in it. The alumium sides and shiny top look fantastic, it will good in most places around the house.
The control panel is pretty simple, there is also a black and white screen to go with it. All the controls are simple and there are no confusing buttons. To check the ink all you have to do is push a simple button on the keybad and the screen automatically shows the current levels, this is very easy to use.
There is a memory stick card reader on the front of the printer. It can read all kinds of memory cards from cameras, and the write speed is very fast. There is also a USB 2.0 next to it for direct connection to a camera.
The print quality is fine, I can't really fault it. Changing ink is quite simple, unlike some other printers its easy. To change ink all that you need to do is lift up the lid and take out the old cartridge from its slot and insert a new one, the cartridges slide out very smoothly.
All in all I think that this is a fantastic bargain. I have checked online and there are not many other wireless printers that can be bought for £50, and none that perform as well as it for that price. It looks great, has quick and easy wireless connections, there is an easy to use control panel, and the memory card slot and usb hub are fast and speedy. An excellent printer, 5 stars.
Great! Love it!
Out of the box easy to use, quality printing. No wires, no fuss. It just does what it says it will do.
The front panel interface is clear and easy to understand.....there is just one thing!!!
I wish i could change the voice that says when printing is started and complete. After printing several docs it can get a bit annoying, I would much rather change it to something a bit less....well.... AMERICAN.....maybe something like "there you go mate", or the classic cricket "HOWZAT!!!!" I am sure it can be done. I have to work on it