Lexmark Genesis S815 app-laden printer gets hands-on treatment

Printers aren't normally the most interesting of gadgets, but the Genesis turns our head with its capacitive touchscreen and Facebook app, which you can use to print your embarrassing photos...

Luke Westaway
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Printers, scanners, copy and fax machines aren't the most exciting bits of tech, but every now and again one raises our left eyebrows a couple of millimetres. The Lexmark Genesis is such a fellow -- a vertical printermabob that uses photography techniques to scan your stuff, flashes disco colours and has its own app store. Click through the photos above to check it out for yourself.

The Genesis is a tall, black, shiny monolith of printing goodness. A 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen slapped on the front controls the device and cycles through apps.

There are Android-style home, back and menu buttons underneath the display too. Although we didn't get much time with the Genesis, it looked pretty simple to use, and felt more intuitive than most boring little printer screens.

On the front you'll find a fold-out slot where you can stick your photos, documents, receipts, pets or anything else you think needs scanning. If you want to scan several things at the same time, you can clip your bits of paper into the slot, and scan up to four things at once.

Once everything's loaded in, the S815 takes a photo of your stuff as it wallows inside the Genesis' guts just like a digital camera would. Indeed, during the press event, a Lexmark rep pulled the cover open and hit the scan button, and the Genesis was able to 'scan' a photo of the assembled masses, from quite some distance.

As a bonus, during this photo-taking process, the inside of the printer flashed red, green and blue as it took the photo, so you could always crack the machine open and use the scan function to keep a disco afloat. Nifty.

The Genesis has the latest 'n' version of Wi-Fi built-in, so you don't need loads of cables hooked up to it to get it talking to your computer. Most interesting, however, is the SmartSolutions app store, which lets you expand the list of things the Genesis can do beyond boring old printing and scanning.

Download the Facebook app, for example, and you can browse through your photos from the Genesis, and print them too, which we think is particularly cool. You can scan and upload your photos as well, if you have physical images you want your friends to browse.

There's also an Evernote app for uploading your photos to cloud storage, and a BBC News app, which is nought but an RSS feed. But if you fancy reading the news on your printer, well... now you can.

The apps do open up the Genesis to some interesting new functions, and our only gripe is you'll need to plug the Genesis into a computer to install new ones -- even though it's connected to the Internet, you can't browse for apps direct from the printer itself.

We took a gander at some things printed and scanned by the Genesis, and everything looked to be pretty high quality, but we'd expect that -- the Genesis costs £399. That's a great deal of money, and doubly painful when we heard that it would cost $399 in the US. Exchange rate? That old thing? Even with VAT added, that's a £100 premium.

Still, the Genesis is available now, so if you're jonesing for some Facebook-uploading-RSS-reading-disco-lighting-printing hijinks, you can rush out to the shops and fill your boots straight away.

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The Genesis is tall, black and extremely shiny.
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It has a capacitive touchscreen on the front.
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A side view -- you can see where you stick paper into the back.
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The Genesis has its own app store.
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You can print out your Facebook photos, or upload photos to Evernote, for example.
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The Genesis' scanner works much like a digital camera. Here's a 'scan' taken of the audience.

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