Lexmark, HP face off in Web-connected,<br /> touch-screen-printing battle

Lexmark announces line of Web-connected, touch-screen all-in-one printers, and we put them to the test.

Lexmark's 4.3-inch touch-screen LCD. Lexmark

Not to be outdone by HP's recent touch-screen printer, the folks at Lexmark just debuted their line of Web-connected touch-screen all-in-ones.

The big difference between the two is that although they both have touch technology, the HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web is meant to live in the home, while the three printers featuring Lexmark's MyTouch technology are designed to increase productivity for the business market. Nevertheless, this won't stop us from putting them side-by-side in the first ever Web-connected, touch-screen-printing kumite.

Only three out of the eight new products include a large 4.3-inch touch screen, coincidentally the exact same size of HP's LCD screen. I had a chance to preview the entire lineup, and I was impressed with the comprehensive set of new features built into each device. The "SmartSolutions" button layout lets SMBs streamline their work flow by customizing their home screen with easy-to-use applications that include template shortcuts, address book favorites, RSS feeds, ID and ID card copies--all built into the machine with updates available through the host computer.

Four of the new printers also feature 802.11n wireless connectivity and all eight include Lexmark's Vizix technology that uses individual ink tanks to produce higher quality output at a cheaper refill cost. Business users will also be happy to see Lexmark's new business card scanning technology that recognizes and automatically uploads contact information into popular desktop software suites. One drawback: the technology isn't available for Apple's vCard address book sync.

All of the new printers will be available in September, and we'll be getting units into the CNET Labs as soon as possible to begin testing, so check back soon to see who will win in a head-to-head match.

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