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Feature-packed multifunction printer

Feature-packed multifunction printer

The ordinary-looking Lexmark X6570 colour inkjet multifunction printer conceals its strengths. Can advanced paper handling and networking features help it beat fancier competition?

No other multifunction we've seen in the X6570's price range boasts all this: automatic duplexing, a 25-sheet automatic document feeder, and integrated 802.11b/g networking. These features can make a big difference for the SOHO/small business crowd. We are fans of making two-sided copies of two-sided documents, which the X6570 can do, albeit with manual re-feeding of the original. At this price, that's close enough.

Most other aspects of the X6570 are pedestrian. It has a 100-sheet, top-loading input tray that's a bit on the small side. Its output tray, a sturdy, foldout front panel, holds 50 sheets. The control panel is well labelled and mostly logical. The panel can sit flush with the front of the machine or tilt to a set angle. The two-line, monochrome LCD on the front panel shows menu items and longer messages in clear English; the latter scroll across the screen, like electronic ticker tape, only more slowly - it's tedious to read.

Performance is competent. Text documents managed a decent speed of 7.2 pages per minute (ppm), while graphics pages slowed to a painful 1.7ppm. Text was nice and dark, but fuzzy, marring finer fonts and making closely-spaced ones look mushed together. Graphics looked oversaturated and grainy on plain paper. Lexmark's own photo paper toned down the palette considerably and improved sharpness. Monochrome scans and copies were quite good, but colour ones were again oversaturated.

As users happily take advantage of the duplexer and ADF to handle longer documents, note that Lexmark charges a lot for the X6570's ink. Black ink costs $US0.05 cents per page; a page with small amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black costs $US0.11 cents. Lexmark enhances the X6570's hardware with well-designed software.

The brightly coloured, clearly labelled driver includes spot illustrations of features, plus task based help. Bundled apps cover photo editing, scanning, and fax functions. The Solution Center is a one-stop shop for how to information, troubleshooting, maintenance, and other resources, including the excellent, HTML-based manual. A printed user guide covers a subset of common topics.

For a boxy, plain-looking machine, the Lexmark X6570 packs an impressive number of higher-end features. It can't compete with faster, more capable machines, but it's a good bargain for users who want maximum versatility for the price.


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