Lexmark P310

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Lexmark P310

Pros

  • Simple interface

Cons

  • Shoddy print quality, high cost per page

Bottom Line

Lexmark's execution is a little disappointing on the P310. We don't like its slow access time when reading memory cards, nor do we think the omission of an output tray is a good idea. We also don't like this unit's print quality and its high cost per page.

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This inkjet printer is designed to work completely free of a PC and has PictBridge and memory card facilities for input. A colour LCD screen is present for viewing the photos on your memory cards and the menu system for printing these out is very basic. Simply select which photos you want to print, select the paper size, number of copies and select the print area and press start. Things couldn't be simpler. However, things could be faster.

During testing, we found it took an inordinate amount of time to access the photos on our SD card, taking up to 30 seconds to move from one photo to the next.

In contrast, its paper feed mechanism is vigorous. It's almost as if it knows you have been waiting an eternity to find that one photo you want to print out and tries to make up for it. Its print engine won't let it, though, and photos from our memory card tests took 2 minutes and 42 seconds to emerge, while PictBridge prints took slightly longer at 2 minutes, 48 seconds.

As the printouts start exiting this unit, one thing becomes blatantly obvious. Lexmark has not designed a paper output tray for this printer and, instead, prints are flung out onto the desk the printer is situated on, or the floor, depending on how smooth the desk surface is.

The omission of an output tray was perhaps unavoidable by design, as the memory card slots reside in the location just under where the tray would normally rest. If this unit did have an output tray, the memory slots would be impossible to reach unless you removed it or turned the unit upside-down.

One tri-colour ink cartridge takes care of all the print duties in this machine and all photos are automatically printed without any borders. We found the print quality of the photos to be a little too yellow and the detail of the printed images was also not as good as comparable Epson, HP and Canon models. Fine details, in particular, were not handled very well and made some pictures look unnatural. Furthermore, the end of each photo was marred with a banding problem that may have something to do with the printer's output roller.

The tri-colour print cartridge for this printer costs around $37 and is said to have enough juice for 190 pages at 5% paper coverage. Lexmark sells 4" x 6" glossy paper for this model in packs of 20 for $9.95. Assuming the print cartridge lasts for at least 100 prints, then the cost per photo over 100 shots ends up being close to 86 cents.

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