Lexmark X4550 all-in-one review: Lexmark X4550 all-in-one

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MSRP: $179.99
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Built-in wireless networking; speedy text prints; onboard memory card slots and PictBridge port; good color scans.

The Bad Text, graphics, and photo printing need improvement; very slow 4x6 photo prints.

The Bottom Line The Lexmark X4550 offers what most all-in-ones in this price range don't: wireless networking. Casual home users who value network-readiness will love that feature, but users who want better print quality will be happier with a different machine.

6.4 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Service and support 6.0

The Lexmark X4550 is a high-end version of the X3550, which we reviewed recently. The two printers offer the same design and feature set, with the exception that the X4550 adds wireless networking for an additional $50 (though it lacks an Ethernet port for wired networking). The X4550 is also rated to perform more quickly than the X3550, so the focus this review will be on performance since the two printers are so similar otherwise. (For an overview and analysis of the X4550's design, feature set, and support package, please refer to the review of the X3550.) Overall, the Lexmark X4550 produces mediocre prints and is a bit slow at tasks other than text printing. Its big draw is the fact that not only is it a $130 network-ready machine, but it comes with wireless networking standard. If you're a casual home user who prioritizes network-readiness, the Lexmark X4550 is a bargain. But if your focus is on print quality, check out the Canon Pixma MP460.

When compared to its comparably priced competition, the Lexmark X4550 proved to be quick with text prints and grayscale scans. But it was positively sluggish at graphics prints and 4x6 photos, as well as pokey with color scans. It scored 7.66 pages per minute for black text, a full page faster than the Canon Pixma MP510. But it scored a slow 1.04ppm for color graphics. Even worse was its photo print speed: a mere 0.40ppm for a 4x6 photo. The HP Photosmart C5280 was the next slowest, but still nearly doubled the pace with a score of 0.76ppm. The X4550 came back with grayscale scans--5.74ppm--but faltered with color scans--4.77ppm. Comparing the X4550 to the X3550, the former beat the latter soundly at text prints but fell a bit behind with graphics prints and scans. It was soundly trounced, too, in 4x6 photo prints.

CNET Labs' inkjet multifunction speed tests (pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color scan  
Grayscale scan  
4x6 photo  
Graphics  
Text  
Lexmark X4550
4.77 
5.74 
0.4 
1.04 
7.66 
Canon Pixma MP510*
5.2 
5.28 
1.26 
2.09 
6.37 
Canon Pixma MP460
5.6 
5.68 
1.36 
1.62 
5.8 
HP Photosmart C5280
8.1 
3.26 
0.76 
2.07 
5.53 
Lexmark X3550
4.45 
5.36 
0.77 
1.9 
4.34 
Note: *The Canon Pixma MP510's photo score is for an 8x10 print.

The X4550's text print quality left a lot to be desired on our tests. Black text tended toward dark gray rather than true black. Additionally, we saw a lot of jagged edges and wicking, even though we printed on Lexmark's premium paper. The color graphics print suffered from some of the same problems. Straight edges showed jaggedness instead of clean, sharp lines. The color had a faded look and the photo elements were a bit grainy. And color blocks showed very faint horizontal striations. The 4x6 photo print was also just OK. Details need to be sharpened, and we saw evidence of graininess and horizontal striations, though they weren't as evident as what we saw in the graphics prints. The photo color could also stand to be a bit brighter and warmer.

The grayscale scan showed obvious compression in both ends: we lost details in both the shadow and highlight areas of the image, though otherwise, details were sharp. The X4550 did its best work with the color scan: colors were true and details sharp. Overall, the X4550 will suffice for casual home users, but more demanding users should look at the Canon Pixma MP460--the same amount of money will get you better print quality across the board, though text prints will be bit slower, and it's not network-ready.

CNET Labs' inkjet multifunction quality
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color scan  
Grayscale scan  
Photo  
Graphics  
Text  
Canon Pixma MP460
Fair 
Good 
Excellent 
Excellent 
Excellent 
Canon Pixma MP510
Good 
Good 
Excellent 
Excellent 
Good 
HP Photosmart C5280
Excellent 
Good 
Good 
Good 
Fair 
Lexmark X4550
Good 
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 
Fair 

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