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The Lexmark P315 is a photo printer which prints out pictures straight from your digital camera via either a memory card or a PictBridge enabled camera. I'm not going to pretend to know all the details about photo printers, but if you want an honest review from an ordinary consumer, I would say that this is well worth having.
For one, the prints are astonishingly great quality, coming out as if they were made by a professional. Lexmark have managed to include lots of little gizmo's to make the whole experience more enjoyable. The LCD screen can be positioned so as to be facing you on a flat surface. All of the USB sockets and memory card slots are conveniently placed at the front of the printer. Plus, the buttons next to the screen are clear and precise allowing you to determine the amount of prints by the press of a button, or aborting a print before it starts or finishes.
It's small size (conveniently standing at 10x15cm) makes this 'photo lab' quite portable and easy to move around if needs be. It even comes with a little handle so you can carry it around safely. For me this isn't a big issue as it has always stayed put on my computer table, out of the way enough not to be impeding on you, but convenient enough to use straight away.
If I were to say anything bad about it, it would be that it takes a little while for the printer to actually recognise a photo and print it - longer than you think it would need, plus it's an ink jet so it gets a little noisy. The time taken to print also seems to deteriorate over time.
The cost of photo paper is always quite high as well, unless you can find a good deal somewhere - but this will be a problem with any photo printing.
I have tried many printers over the years and most of them have been manufactured by Lexmark. The main reason for this is the price, they are mostly always cheaper and the quality is usually very good. I have recently purchased or rather upgraded my digital camera and have been on the look out over the last few weeks for a reasonably priced photo printer.
Only last week I saw this model on offer in ALDI for £49.99 and in ASDA for £59.99 so you can imagine my elation and joy when I went to buy paint at Homebase and saw the exact same printer on offer for £29.99. I quickly borrowed £30 smackers of the Mrs and made the purchase.
The printer produces excellent quality photos from its Lexmark Number 33 cartridge. The colours are vivid and bright and I am well chuffed with my purchase. The printer is perhaps 9 inches square by 4 or 5 inches high and has an inset carry handle for easy transportation. It is a mains powered device and has two memory cards slots to facilitate the printing of your pictures taken with a digital camera.
The printer is pictbridge compatible which means that should your camera have the same function you can print direct from the camera. If like me you camera does not support this function simply remove the camera's memory card and insert it into the printer slot and follow the very easy to use menu system.
The memory card which is mostly used on digital cameras is the SD or secure digital format or the small ones to you and me. The camera supports also Smart Media, xD Picture Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo only with adapter supplied with Stick, Compact flash type 1 and 2 and microdrive. So as you can see it just about has everything covered.
The printer has a small 2.5 inch LCD screen for user interface purposes. It has a selection of buttons to enable you to get the exact picture you require.
The printer uses a very simple yet effective menu system which I believe is almost idiot proof. Through the menu you can alter the brightness colour size and zoom of the picture on the memory card. This is done by selecting the desired function and pressing the select button...............see I told you it was idiot proof. The main button on the control section of the printer has a left right up down button which enables you to scroll through the menu.
Once you have edited the chosen picture and have what you think is the finished product simply press start and your masterpiece will be printed. The printer uses 4x6 photo paper to print the picture on and I have printed many using both the recommended and the cheap Poundland packs of this paper, and I would defy anyone to tell the difference. I have found in the past that using decent paper produces better results but in this case I cannot tell the difference. Depending on the options chosen the printer will take between 38 seconds and one and a half minutes to print the picture.
The results are absolutely fantastic, bright clear vivid pictures just like the ones the Chemist gives you after handing in your film and waiting 4 days, only now you only wait 2 mins max. I have lost count of how many pictures I have printed and the menu system when directed to cartridge status tells me there is still plenty ink left in my cartridge.
For value quality and easy of use this printer is a must have for the budding digital David Bailey and if you are quick off the mark and get down to Homebase the value is even better. Having used this for a bit now I am convinced that had I purchased it for the ALDI price of £49.99 I would still have been extremely satisfied . i would have liked to have been able to use it for pictures on my computer but since it is a portable printer and completely self sustaining this is not possible. This printer is meant only to print pictures from your digital camera and when it gets to work it produces exceptional quality prints at a fraction of high street costs........................................an absolutely brilliant piece of kit.
I have had no problems with this in either reliability or quality so am unable to comment on Lexmark product support since I have had no need to use it. In fact through all my printers from them i have never had to use it, that in itself says a lot about the quality of the manufacturing process.
I'll warn Homebase about your impending visit.
Since its launch in 1991 Lexmark, and its products, have won over 2000 awards and industry accolades from all around the world. One of their secrets of success is that they develope and own the technology in their products, they were the first company to develope and market 4800x1200 dpi (dots per inch) resolutions. With this and several other advances in the industry they have been at the front, with other leaders, in laser and inkjet printers either for the home or office user. They will, in my opinion, continue to grow as long as they keep the consumers interests and input paramount during the design and development of their future products. Bearing this in mind, and already being a Lexmark product user for some number of years when these new all in one photo printers came on to the market well I had to have one. This one, the one I'm about to review, is the Lexmark Portable Photo Printer P315 weighing in at 2.2kgs or 4lbs 13ozs approximately.
Its dimensions are 142mm/5.6inches High x 274mm/10.8inches Width x 211mm/8.3inches Depth which means it is very much a portable printing lab that we have used on many occasion, like taking it with us on some of our many trips up north to see the family. Taking pictures and then being able to print them out at will whenever needed and as many times as you want, without the added expense that you would have at a kiosk or photo printing shop. Each high definition borderless 10x15 cm/4 x 6 inch print only takes 38 seconds when you print in QuickPrint mode, there are three Colour speed modes quick =38 seconds, normal =70 seconds and photo =140 seconds. The really good thing with this printer is that you don't need a PC for it to operate, you can connect it straight to your camera via USB cable from the PictBridge port on the front of the printer.
The other way is via memory card and this printer is compatible with several different memory cards such as Compact Flash I & II, Microdrive, Multimedia Card (MMC), Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick Pro (<512MB), Memory Card (MS), Smart Media, XD Picture Card (<512) and Memory Stick Duo. There are only two slots on the front of the machine that remarkably take all these memory cards, we only have the Fuji XD Picture Card that is with our camera but have used a memory card from a couple of other cameras and a mobile phone, so it is very versatile indeed. The colour of the printer is mainly dark grey with the top cover being silver. The printer comes in the box with a power supply and line cord, one High Resolution Colour cartridge number 33, a fairly thick multi-language Installation Guide, Lexmark Premium Glossy 10x15cm Photo paper sample pack, Service and Warrantee information. You get 1 years guarantee from Lexmark and the power requirements are 90v AC-270v AC input.
Across the top of the printer there is a retractable carrying handle for portability, a 2.5 inch/ 63mm LCD screen, various buttons that I will describe to you in a minute and a lid that lifts up for you to change ink cartridges, and changing the cartridge is a very simple operation. As soon as you lift the lid,(with the machine turned on), the ink cartridge realigns itself so that you can easily get at it, press a spring loaded lever, lift out the spent cartridge, pop in the new cartridge and then just spring back the lever till it clicks and that's it. On closing the lid the printer resumes its pre-start position and you are ready to go. I have bought a replacement cartridge and photo printing paper just for spare and have not needed to use any more ink just yet but I did run out of the sample paper that came with the printer package, they only give you 5 sheets of 10x15cm/ 4x6inch. I bought these from inkfactory.co.uk and the Premium glossy photo paper, by Jettec, was £9.99 vat included this was for a hundred sheets of 10x15cm/ 4x6 inch.
The ink cartridge, (Lexmark number 33 or 35), was £15.78 including vat now as you will already know you can buy cheaper versions or copies but that is entirely up to you. There is another one you could try called Lexmark High Yield colour Inkjet Cartridge this is for top quality photo printing at £21.51 including vat, but the quality I've got with the cheaper cartridge is good quality anyway. The paper input tray is also on the top of the machine and there is a maximum of 25 sheets at any one time, no output tray so you will need to have it on a flat surface so you won't need to watch them when printing out your prints. On-Board memory is 32MB of SDRAM/Flash 16Mbit. The four position LCD Control display can be used to preview your photos and check the status of the printer it allows you to enhance and edit, crop and rotate, sharpen and adjust the brightness using the buttons next to the display on the control panel. 1. button press for the photo memory, 2. Stop/clear which is for stop that print job, 3.Start.
Number 4. is the power on/off button, 5. this one is a four way arrow cursor with up for scroll through menu options, cropping, and skipping forward through ten pictures at a time. Down is the same as up but skipping backwards through ten pictures at a time on the memory card, press the right arrow cursor to increase the number of prints and to display the next picture on the memory card. left cursor is the opposite of right. Number 6. button is used to change the number of photos you want to print and to change crop sizes. Pressing number 7. will rotate the image in the control panel display 90 degrees counterclockwise to ease viewing, and finally button eight is choose a menu option or choose a displayed photo for printing. Ease of use with this device could not be any easier, the first time I used it was without reading the instructions and I was well happy with the results.
Printing from a memory card is so simple as long as you stick to a few rules, only use one type of memory card at any one time, a small light will light up when the machine is reading the card, insert the card with the makers name uppermost. Some cards have an arrow on them which should be facing the printer on insertion and some have an adapter which should have the gold contacts facing up over. Firstly load up your paper and switch on the machine press the down arrow key to highlight the slide show then you need to press select, the photos will then be displayed for five seconds at a time but you can skip or go back using the arrow keys you can then press stop when you are ready to print your selected photos. The printer, whilst in operation, is extremely smooth and quiet and just seems to glide through the numerous printing jobs given to it. The whole of the under side of the printer is covered with a fixed thin rubber mat, and being thicker in each of the four corners, (feet) helping to dampen any noise.
You have the option to customise your photos before the print takes place, this means you can crop, adjust the brightness, change the number of prints, change print quality or change blank paper size. This way you can select another photo and do something different with it and so on. Pressing print at this stage brings up a preview then press start to begin the printing process. Remember not to remove your memory card until the light, next to the card slot, stops blinking if it is still blinking this means the card is still transmitting data. Printing straight from a digital camera using a USB cable and connecting one end to the camera and the other end to the PictBridge port on the front of the printer. You must refer to your own cameras documentation for step by step instructions on connecting by this method and making sure your camera is set to the correct USB mode. To print a photo in black and white, make sure your memory card is inserted and you are on the menu screen then press select.
Find the photo you want to adjust using the arrow buttons to scroll then press 'Select', press 'Menu', this brings up the photo menu, press the 'Down Cursor Key' until you highlight 'Print Colour' then press the 'Right Cursor Key' till you highlight 'Black & White', press 'Select' then just press 'Start' to print your pictures and they do equal 35mm quality photos. Don't worry if I've complicated it a bit because the manual that comes with the printer is very thorough and tells you a lot more than I have here, for instance cropping a photo is so easily achieved just by following the step by step guide given in the book, the same for adjusting the brightness, viewing a slide show and adjusting the number of prints that you want. Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) on some cameras means that you can specify which photos to print and how many copies before the memory card is removed from the camera.
The factory default settings, which you can easily change back to if you get into trouble, for blank paper size is 4" x 6" are controlled and selected from the 'Menu' display and can be changed to Hagaki Card (100mm x 148mm) or A6 (4.13" x 5.83" or 105mm x 148mm) or even Photo (4" x 6"). Other changes you can make through the 'Menu' display are paper type this is Glossy, Plain and Coated or print quality this is Draft, Normal and Photo, you can also turn the preview display on or off. You have got language settings and power save settings, this is set to 20 minutes by default, lastly there is restoring factory settings which I have already mentioned above. Troubleshooting guides are a plenty in the manual and seem to cover every possible eventuality. Transportation is a doddle as long as you remember to take the power lead with you, and remembering that it will save you money in the long run as you will not need as many memory cards, and they are not cheap, because once you have printed off your pics then you can wipe your memory card clean and use it again.
When I bought the Lexmark Portable Photo Printer P315 it was £54.95 at the beginning of December at pcworld, now it is £79.99 in-store or on-line for a great £59.99 but then you can not get it delivered you have to reserve it on-line and then go and pick it up. Value for money compared to some of the same type of machines on the market must put this printer near to the top of the list as I have yet to fault it, so I have to recommend this product to you if only for the quality of the black and white pictures we have now got of our grand children. Please take the time to search the Lexmark website for any answers to questions that I have not covered. Happy printing.
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