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Lexmark P350 portable photo printer review: Lexmark P350 portable photo printer

The Lexmark P350 snapshot photo printer is less expensive than the competition, but its slower print speeds and somewhat half-baked features make it less attractive.

Felisa Yang Former CNET Editor
6 min read
Lexmark's portable P350 photo printer brings snapshot printing into the home, albeit slowly. The $130 printer prints 4x6 photos at a pokey rate but with acceptable print quality for casual snapshooters. Although they cost a bit more, we prefer either the Epson PictureMate Pal or the Canon Selphy DS810, which offer better-thought-out features and faster print speeds.

The white-and-silver P350 is small and lightweight: It measures 9.2 inches wide by 5.8 inches deep by 5 inches tall and weighs 4.1 pounds. The fold-up handle makes it easy to tote around, but the included power cord and adapter put a bit of a damper on the portability. We would like to see an optional battery pack for this printer, but even the more expensive Epson PictureMate Pal and Canon Selphy DS810 don't offer a battery option. On top of the printer is a 2.4-inch color LCD that's mounted on a swivel, which allows the screen to move through a range of about 90 degrees. We like this feature because it lets you optimize the viewing angle for various lighting conditions. The simple control panel features four arrow keys, a check mark button (that is, an OK button), and a back button for navigating menus, plus a button with a palette icon for tweaking images, a one-touch red-eye-reduction button, and a print button. On the back of the printer lives the input tray, which can hold up to 25 sheets of photo paper. The printer accepts various sizes of paper, up to 4x8 inches, which is a somewhat unusual size, at least in the United States. If you were to print a 4x6 image on 4x8 paper, you would get a white border around the image, but if you were to print a 4x8 image from a program such as Photoshop, you could make a 4x8 borderless print on the P350. On the front, there's an output tray, a USB port for flash storage devices or PictBridge cameras, and memory card slots.


Lexmark P350 portable photo printer

The Good

Small, compact body; inexpensive; reasonable print costs; decent print quality; adjustable LCD.

The Bad

Slow print speeds; limited image enhancements; included desktop software is limited in range; no battery option.

The Bottom Line

The Lexmark P350 snapshot photo printer is less expensive than the competition, but its slower print speeds and somewhat half-baked features make it less attractive.

You can use the Lexmark P350 as a stand-alone snapshot printer, or you can connect it to your PC. If you're setting it up in stand-alone mode, simply follow the instructions to insert the single tricolor ink tank and plug in the power cable. If you're setting it up to print from a PC, simply insert the driver CD into your PC and click through the wizard.

To start printing straight from the P350, insert a memory card into the appropriate slot or plug your camera or another flash storage device into the USB port. Using the menu, you can print all the photos on the card in one fell swoop, or all the photos taken on particular dates, or a range of photos. If you're feeling more selective, you can scroll through the photos individually to pick images, make adjustments to them, and print the whole batch when you're done reviewing them. Finally, you can view all the photos as a slide show and choose pictures on the fly, though the only adjustments you can make in this case are to turn on red-eye reduction or rotate the image. You can also print all the photos in index form, which lays out 12 images per 4x6 sheet. This turns out to be less useful than it should be: The photos on the index sheet are labeled with their filename, but when you scroll through the photos on the LCD, you only see the photo number. To be truly useful, the P350 should give the same set of information in both places (or better yet, both sets of information), so that you could quickly skip through to the image you're interested in, using the index as a reference, which is something the Epson PictureMate Pal and the Selphy DS810 do.

If you want to make enhancements to the photos, you have a few limited options. For example, you can manually adjust brightness, but not contrast or color tones. You can also crop an image; turn on Auto Enhance; turn on red-eye reduction; apply color effects, such as sepia, antique brown, and antique gray; rotate the image; or add a frame (more on this in a bit). The Auto Enhance feature is a bit opaque: A search through the user guide didn't clarify exactly what Auto Enhance does. We suspect it tries to improve an image, but we're not sure how. When we used Auto Enhance to adjust a few pictures that were too dark, slightly blurry, or badly lit, we didn't see a noticeable improvement. If anything, in one photo, we saw that the printer had reduced a bit of glare on people's faces, but overall, the picture was slightly less sharp than the unenhanced print. Of the three printers discussed here, the Canon Selphy DS810 has the best range of image-optimization choices. Aside from turning on the Canon's general "autoenhance" feature, you can tweak contrast and hue, brighten faces, change color saturation, and perform color balancing. The Lexmark's frame feature is one we haven't seen before: It simply adds one of four frame designs (in 20 colors) to the four sides of your photo. The designs are limited and a bit cheesy; we don't see ourselves using it much.

If you want to print photos on your PC's hard drive, you can print straight from your preferred photo editing program, or use Lexmark's Fast Pics utility, which helps you pick photos and make adjustments to them. Oddly enough, you get fewer photo tweaking options in Fast Pics than you do working straight on the P350. For example, you can reduce red-eye, crop, and "autofix" images, but you can't adjust brightness or add frames. The Epson PictureMate Pal has limited image-enhancement options in stand-alone mode as well, but at least the included imaging software gives you more control over your photos. Once you've connected the P350 to your PC, you can also transfer photos from a memory card to your PC via Fast Pics. By comparison, the Epson PictureMate Pal also lets you transfer photos in the reverse direction. Another alternative is to transfer photos from a memory card to a USB storage device, such as a flash thumbdrive. (The PictureMate Pal doesn't allow for this.)

Like Epson, Lexmark sells a photo kit that includes the single three-color ink cartridge and 100 sheets of 4x6 photo paper. We couldn't find the price on Lexmark's site, but a quick Google search turned up an average price of about $29, or about 29 cents per print. This is in line with the per-print cost for the Epson PictureMate Pal and the Canon Selphy DS810 (not counting the initial cost of the printer, of course).

The Lexmark P350 took nearly twice as long as either the Epson or Canon models to print photos. It printed borderless 4x6 images at a rate of 0.56 pages per minute; the PictureMate Pal managed 1.0ppm and the Canon gave us 1.11ppm. As far as quality goes, it's in the middle of the pack. The recommended paper is neither glossy nor matte like traditional photo paper (though it doesn't have the texture of traditional matte paper). It has a sort of flat look to it that reminds us of magazine prints or postcards; this is neither good nor bad, just different. Still, the images had a nice sharpness, and we liked the printer's color handling better than that of the Epson PictureMate Pal, though it suffered from some of the same graininess. Overall, the print quality should satisfy casual snapshot users.

CNET Labs' photo inkjet printer performance
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Photo speed  

Lexmark backs the P350 with a one-year warranty. Free, toll-free phone support is available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. ET for the length of the warranty. Lexmark's Web site includes a knowledge base, downloadable drivers, and a resource center to help get you started on new printing projects.


Lexmark P350 portable photo printer

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6Support 6
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