Unlike the consumer-oriented Platinum Pro905, the Lexmark Prevail Pro705 is designed for office use with a button-based control panel, an autodocument feeder (ADF), and other features to encourage smooth business work flow. At $200, the affordable and speedy Pro705 will be a helpful office assistant, but we hesitate to recommend it if you're printing a lot of photos.
Design and features
The Prevail Pro705's gray-black color palette is typical for an office printer, but its smooth edges and rounded paper input tray shave off the sharp corners and make the device look more streamlined than the traditional rectangular office printer. It measures 9.8 inches tall, 18.3 inches wide, and 15.4 inches deep so it's easy for anyone to move and reposition around the office.
Physically, the front of the device is much more involved than the simple touch screen on the Platinum Pro905. Instead of a big touch-screen LCD, the Pro705 opts for a small 2.4-inch color LCD display with a cluster of shortcut feature buttons surrounding it on all four sides, as well as a directional pad for scrolling through menus and a number pad for dialing numbers on the fax side.
All the new printers from Lexmark include an "Eco Mode" button marked with a green leaf on the right side that triggers two-sided printing, copying, and faxing using the duplexer on the back. Lexmark also reduces your ecological footprint with Energy Star certification, and the company even includes an XL-capacity black cartridge in the box--to our knowledge, Lexmark is the only printer vendor to provide this service. In fact, most of them ship printers with a starter cartridge that contains less ink than the refills you'll need to buy in the future.
The paper tray sits on the bottom and gives the Pro705 a unique advantage over the competition. Instead of having just a simple tray like so many others before it, the printer has a silo drawer built into the base that adds more heft and durability to the 150-sheet container. Coupled with a 10,000-page duty cycle, a 150-sheet stack should be enough for a small business.
The printer also has a small media card reader for direct prints, as well as an open PictBridge-compatible USB port that you can use to load photos for printing off a USB flash drive.
You can connect the Pro705 to a host computer using an 802.11n wireless setup or with a hardwired USB port. With the included driver disc, we were able to set up the printer to communicate using both technologies in less than 10 minutes; just make sure you have your network log-in and password available.
The printer is one of many to feature Lexmark's newest Vizix individual ink cartridges: one with black pigment for printing text and three dye-based yellow, cyan, and magenta cartridges for color photos. Using the XL-capacity cartridges, which offer a better overall value for the page yield, we calculate the price of black ink as 5 cents per page and color ink as 3 cents per page. Both rates are about average for a small-office printer, but the HP Officejet Pro 8500 costs less per page and significantly less over time if you print a high volume of pages. HP's printer can also handle 5,000 more prints per month than the Lexmark, with its 15,000-page duty cycle.
The Pro 705 ships with minimal paperwork to conserve paper, and you can find most of the instructions, warranty information, and promotional offers on the CD included in the box. Along with the drivers that support Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X, the CD also automatically installs several Lexmark productivity programs on your computer.