- Automatic duplexing, built in 802.11g wireless networking
- Photo prints lack definition, text output slightly muddy
If you want a machine that can do it all, and also one that offers plenty of convenience, the X9350 can't be overlooked. It's very well priced and would suit either a home environment or a small office.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 4 stores)
The best part about Lexmark's flagship multifunction device is that it can be used wirelessly. It comes with a built in 802.11g adapter, which can run in ad-hoc mode or in infrastructure mode and is fairly easy to set up. When it runs in ad-hoc mode, uses can connect to the printer directly using a notebook with a built in wireless network adapter. In this mode, rather than having to connect through a router, you can wirelessly print to the X9350 without even having a wireless network set up.
For wireless security, you can use WEP, WPA or WPA2, depending on what your network already uses. Once this is established, the printer will be listed as a wireless network in Windows XP's wireless networking utility. Be sure to install the printer driver on each computer that will be using the printer. The X9350 also comes with Ethernet and USB ports, so you can plug it into a router or attach it directly to a PC.
The X9350 is suitable for the home or the small office. As well as printing documents and photos, it can send and receive faxes, scan images and documents and make photocopies. It comes with optical character recognition (OCR) software, which can, with almost 100 percent accuracy, scan typed documents and extract the text to an editable text file (although it does struggle with most handwriting). The X9350 scanner has a lid with lifting hinges so that thicker documents (such as books) can be accommodated easier. An automatic document feeder (ADF) sits atop the lid and is very handy for scanning and faxing multi-page documents.
A typical A4 image scanned at a resolution of 300dpi took a little longer to complete (2min 30secs) than other multifunction devices we've tested, but the quality of the input was well detailed and accurate. It's worth noting that you can still use the scanner while the unit is simultaneously printing, which can be a huge time saver.
For printing, Lexmark still relies on an old-fashioned dual cartridge combination: one black and one tri-colour. It's capable of printing vivid photos, and also photos which are generally favoured by many people we show the results to. Despite the 4800 x 1200dpi print resolution though, photos with fine areas of detail still looked like they lacked a little definition. A 4 x 6in photo printed off a CompactFlash card takes about 3min 10secs to complete. The colour LCD screen on the X9350 lets you easily view and select photos for printing. PictBridge is also supported, so you can plug in your PictBridge-capable digital camera and print photos using the interface on your camera.
As for its document performance, the printer driver's 'quick' mode took 30secs to print a five page Microsoft Word document, while in 'normal' mode the same document took 1min 19secs. Text in both modes was slightly muddy and a little feathery around the edges, but still quite readable. Text printed in 'quick' mode was only a tad lighter than text printed in 'normal' mode.
The X9350 has a 150 page paper cassette that feeds paper through the front of the machine via a curved paper path. Conveniently, the X9350 has built in duplexing, so you can save on paper by efficiently printing on both sides. Duplexing is automatic; the printer sucks the paper back in after it prints on one side and flips it. This means you don't have to wait for the first side to print before turning it over and re-feeding it.
If you want a multifunction device to boost your productivity, then the X9350 is great value for money. It has everything required of a printer for a small office, including a compact desktop footprint and speedy document printing. The ink system is a bit of a let down as it still relies on a multi-colour cartridge instead of individual colour cartridges, and its photo quality isn't the best quality we've seen, but it's more than adequate for printing brochures, flyers and presentations.
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