Worst all-in-one in 10 years

Mar 8, 2009 (Updated May 16, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Better LCD window, saves favorite settings as default settings.

Cons:Lexmark X5650 software damages Windows Xp Operating System preventing System Restore and blocking other software

The Bottom Line: If you want to damage your Windows Xp System, buy a Lexmark X5650, 6650 or Dell V505.

Every few years I look for a faster, better printer/scanner/fax/copier that can use less expensive or more economcal ink cartridges. Thought I'd won a lottery when I spotted the Lexmark X5650 on sale at Target for $65.

Prior to this purchase, I'd been happily using my lexmark X5470 for a couple of years. My only gripes with the X5470 were inability to change the default settings so that I could immediately start copying 2on1 when printer is turned on. I use the 2on1 feature to save space on document filing by reducing 4 sheets of paper to 1 sheet with 4 documents (2 on each side). Like most 4in1 printers today, getting to the 2on1 feature requires clicking through a bunch of menu selections.

Lexmark X5650 PROs:

Lexmark X5650 lets you select your favorite settings and then SAVE them as your default settings. When you use the 2on1 feature in the X5650 it asks you if you want to print another page and then gives you time to remove the paper from the glass, place the next page on the glass and then click OK to scan & print the next page which is something the X5470 did not permit. I was constantly racing the X5470 to see if i could get the next page on the glass BEFORE it would start scanning it.

LCD window on the X5650 has a black screen with bright white text that is superior to older backlit greenish-yellow screens with black text that is sometimes hard to read in certain lighting conditions. 

Lexmark X5650 CONs:

Lexmark X5650 software damages Windows Xp Operating System preventing System Restore, blocking other software, affecting modem use and does so much damage, I couldn't even get the computer to reboot without using Reset or Power buttons on my desktop computer. The Dell version of the same printer (V505) uses the same software and someone else confirmed the same damaging results after I posted a warning on the Dell website. Since I haven't experienced such a poorly written printer driver in about 10 years I spent many hours trying a variety of workarounds, including installing the X5650 software after a fresh Windows Xp SP2 install and again after adding SP3 update. The X5650 requires Microsoft Dot Net 2.0 so if you don't have it installed, it installs it for you without asking permission. I even tried installing Dot Net separately on my computer and it did not cause any problems which proved to me that the virus-like bugs are in the Lexmark software itself. Went to the Lexmark website and downloaded the driver for X5650. Same results as installing from the CD. Visit to a local officemax retail store uncovered reports from other consumers of similar problems with this eries of printers.

Only way I could restore my computer to BEFORE the damage caused by the X5650 software was to use the F5 function during a reboot and select using my "Last Known Good" restore point.  If you buy an X5650 or another model from same series create a System Restore point BEFORE you install the Lexmark software.

I did run the X5650 long enough to test a variety of the features to see how it compares to my older X5470. Startup time is slower on the X5650, meaning it takes a few seconds longer before you can copy, print or scan something.

Productivity Suite lets you scan, edit & save images in ways very similar to most other 3in1 and 4in1 printers.

Cover doesn't stay up when you lift it to place a sheet on the glass which I attribute to poorly or cheaply designed hinges.

Based on these CONs, reinstalling my X5470 was a major relief and the X5650 is going back to Target.

For the record, the last time I encountered such a bad printer driver was about 10 years ago when I was doing beta testing for Hp. They actually gave me a printer driver that instantly crashed my entire operating system. I later found out that it is not uncommon for manufactureres to sell new printers BEFORE they have removed all the bugs from the driver software included with them. I therefore suggest to EVERYONE: Create a System Restore point BEFORE you install ANY new hardware or software.

UPDATE 3/22/09:
Fax Software appears to be the problem and it applies to the entire Lexmark 5600 series, 6600 series, 7600 series AND the Dell version of this printer series which is sold as V505. here's how I arrived at this conclusion.

I installed & tested the copy, scan and print functions of the Dell V305 which is basically the Lexmark equivalent but WITHOUT the fax functions. None of the virus-like problems occur. To support my theory, I then downloaded and installed the Dell V505 drivers on my backup hard drive (a cloned bootable C drive) and ALL the problems of the Lexmark 5600/6600 driver instantly appeared. Tried it again but unselected the fax software install option. Same damaging results. I downloaded and installed the drivers for the X7675 from lexmark website which resulted in EXACT same damage.

In addition, while visiting my local Fry's, I spoke with a salesman in the printer department and he said he's had reports of problems with the Lexmark drivers and even his girlfriend experienced problems similar to mine when she installed a new Lexmark AIO (All In One) on her Windows Xp system.

BOTTOM LINE: If/when Lexmark releases a new set of drivers that fixes the problems with their latest series of AIO inject printers, I'll be happy to report it here. Until then, I suggest avoiding the latest Lexmark and Dell 4in1 injet printers that include fax capabilities.

FOOTNOTE: Really starting to like the Dell V305 for following reasons:
1. Backlit LCD screen (white letters against black background) is much easier to read than the older style green against green.
2. Ability to SAVE my favorite seettings such as copy 2up, print B&W, draft mode.
3. Very fast copying in draft quality mode
4. Translucent smoked gray paper input & output trays matches my glass desk.
Overall design of the V305 hints of some Bang & Olufson influence. Just wish they'd trimmed the basically black unit in silver instead of cream color which doesn't match anything on or near my desk but at the current delivered price of $49, hard to complain about any part of the Dell V305 copy/scan/printer.

5/16/09 UPDATE: My Dell V305 still running perfectly and to compensate for lack of fax functions, I've learned to use the fax functions that are built into Windows Xp. You can use it too if you have a modem in your computer that is connected to your phone line. Simply go into Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs,  Add/Remove Windows Components and put a checkmark next to Fax Services. This will add FAX as a printer that you can select when you want to fax a document or image file.

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