Lexmark P4350 all-in-one
There's a multifunction on the market for every imaginable user--those for small businesses that do high-volume color printing, others for people who are serious about their digital photography, plus models for the strictly grayscale printing crowd. Yet perhaps the largest market for all-in-one machines is that of home users on a limited budget who take lots of digital pictures, yet still find technology intimidating. That's where the Lexmark P4350 comes in. This inkjet all-in-one incorporates scanning, copying, and direct photo printing into one fairly compact package that's a breeze to use. The P4350 has a few shortcomings, such as mediocre scans and uneven print quality, but its photos are good enough for the price, while its interface and software are unbeatable for user-friendliness. The Lexmark P4350 has the same low-slung, eye-pleasing design as its sibling, the , but with a smaller, 1.68-inch LCD. The white-and-silver casing echoes Mac computer stylings. This light, 10.6-pound device measures 12.15 by 17.14 by 20.73 inches (L,D,W) with the 100-sheet input tray extended in back and the output tray extended on the bottom. The paper guides and the scan lid feel flimsy; no surprise, due to the low price tag, but at least you can remove the scanner lid to fit large books on the glass bed. The P4350 lacks costly features such as a fax machine, an automatic document feeder, a straight paper path option, and a single-feed tray for envelopes and letterhead. If you need these, try a business-oriented multifunction, such as the .
The Lexmark P4350's front panel sports a simple interface with one button to switch between Scan, Copy, and Photo modes, and a cluster of buttons to navigate the menus and adjust scan quality and copy brightness. Quick keys rotate, resize, and even preview documents before you print. The bright, color LCD is full of useful information, such as a 3D display of ink levels. If you open the printer to change inks, the LCD even shows you how to align the new cartridge. You also get a generous bank of slots for printing straight from a PictBridge camera or from digital memory cards (CompactFlash Type I and II, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo with adapter, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, SmartMedia, Microdrive, and xD).
The P4350 ships with two ink cartridges: one with three colors for graphics and one photo cartridge that contains black, photo cyan, and photo magenta ink. If you plan on doing high-volume text printing, you should buy a black-ink cartridge ($25 for a high-yield version). We find it a hassle to have to swap out and align the ink tanks when you alternate between printing text and photos, but at least this Lexmark provides a storage well inside to hold the spare tank. To avoid ink swapping, check out a costlier multifunction with individual inks, such as the Canon Pixma MP760.The Lexmark P4350 makes printing photos a snap. Just plug your PictBridge camera or digital-media card into the printer's front port, and you can view, select, and print photos immediately. The LCD photo menu lets you rotate and crop pictures, adjust the brightness, and convert pictures to sepia tones. The P4350 lets you choose paper size through its own input controls and automatically fits and aligns multiple photos onto one page, obviating the need for you to perform these tasks via the printer software on your computer. For more sophisticated photo-editing functions, such as adjusting the color balance levels, despeckling, or adding fills and erasing parts of the photo, you can use your computer to open the photos with the included Lexmark Photo Editor program; this is no Adobe Photoshop, but it meets basic picture-tweaking needs.
Scanning and copying are easy to perform. You can lighten or darken your photocopies and squeeze multiple versions of an image onto one page. A corner of the scanner glass even glows blue to show you where to place the original. Once you switch to the scan function, the LCD lets you choose between scanning to e-mail, Lexmark Photo Editor, or Microsoft Word. The scan software incorporates Abbyy FineReader Sprint 6.0, which converts scans to digitally editable text.