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Lexmark 3840: Budget photo demon

We've seen enough Lexmark budget all-in-ones to fill the London Gherkin, but the 3480, like the rest of its printing brethren, is very impressive

It seems Lexmark makes printers for the sheer hell of it. Over the last six months, Crave has blogged about more budget all-in-ones than we can shake a very large stick at, and here's the latest: the Lexmark 3480.

It looks like the X2470, but has a control panel across the front with a tiny LED screen. This gives it a more balanced overall appearance and makes it easier to control. The LED also relays messages to let you know if anything's gone awry or if there are any buttons you should be pressing.

We wasted no time in testing its photo-printing capabilities by letting it tackle a picture of Beyoncé Knowles, and were very impressed with the results. The picture was faithfully reproduced, and although colours looked as if they'd been dolloped onto the page in places, the effect is much less noticeable than on some of Lexmark's budget offerings.

Interestingly, the printer makes a bizarre heartbeat-like sound when it's in action, which some members of the team found annoying, although others found it soothing. Either way, the prints are excellent (unless you're the type of person that likes to scrutinise everything with a microscope) and we'd have no hesitation in framing them for placement on our walls.

The 3480 has card slots for various types of memory card including Memory Stick, Compact Flash, MMC, SD and xD. It also has a PictBridge-compatible USB port so you can print directly from a USB key or digital camera. The scanner, which can produce colour copies, has an optical resolution of 600x1,200 pixels per inch, and Lexmark reckons it can print at up to 17 pages per minute (ppm). We reckon you're more likely to get around 10ppm though.

The Lexmark 3480 costs £99.99 and is available now. Buy it. -RR