Good Printer, Okay wireless setup

Feb 16, 2011
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Price effective printing, multiple cartridges for different colors, wireless

Cons:network issues, slow printing on network

The Bottom Line:

Good wireless printer, but may be better to go wired to save time and hassles printing

I tried living at home without a printer as I never really used it (why print at home when I can print at work, right?) and the ink would always dry up and the toner was so expensive.  I finally got to the point where I felt dropping the 89.99 as I did on this printer was worth it since this gave me a wireless printer, scanner, copier and fax machine.  It was really one of the only printers at Target that was wireless but also allowed the use of faxes to go through it (via phone cord obviously). 

The setup for the printer is straight-forward…for the most part.  You pop in the CD Rom and run the program (on a Mac for me).  However, of course, it did not work like it was intended to do so.  Thankfully they give you three full years of product warranty and lifetime of tech support (makes me wonder how many issues will come up on this…it is just a wireless printer anyway), they were able to remote into my PC and fix the problem, which I cannot recall what had to be done, but it worked.  After the Mac was up and running after a half hour with the tech people, I put the CD in my Vista Laptop and it was a lot faster this way and it was able to connect to the wireless printer (via a network setup) quite easily.  This way, I can keep the printer upstairs, use the laptop downstairs, and print off items.  Now, I am not saying this is instant printing either…I mean I can hit print on the laptop downstairs, go into the fridge, putz around, walk slowly upstairs, and then the document should be almost done by then (color will take a bit longer).  So, it’s not perfect, but it is nice not to have to mess with cords or use jump drives to print off other documents.  Also, I have only had the thing like a month or so, and it needs some time to connect to the network once it is in sleep-mode or else it will read “Printing Head Error” if you try to print/copy something for some reason.  I have not really checked to see why this happens, but I have a little under 3 years product warranty and lifetime ability call and figure this out with their tech support.

So, after the whole wireless “Meh” factor on the printer, let’s get down to the details here.  There is no digital screen on it, so it appears LexMark did not market this printer as a photo printer first.  At about .40 cents a photo printout estimate on this printer, it makes sense to stick to Costco or Target for your photo prints instead of this printer.  The front has the power button and four big buttons for Fax, Copy, Scan and Photo.  I have not used the Photo button, since it’s not cheap to print them this way, but from what I read it makes it quite easy to print out photos on a jump drive or a PC.  It comes with the ability to scan/fax up to 35 pages through a document feeder. The Fax function is straight-forward with just the ability to use the document feeder, which it will scan all the docs and then dial up and send the fax.  The Scan option is quite fast, even for photo quality.  You can use the Flatbed scanner or the document feeder for this part and the setup allows you to pick the program the scan sends to the PC you want to use for it.  You can select if you want to scan it to a network PC (which I never had work), or to a jump drive.  I found it’s easier just to select on the PC you’re using to scan a document, and that way you control it from the PC and not the printer itself.  Trust me…a lot easier than messing with it, which may not be the intentions of the Lexmark folks.

The Copy option is great as you can copy in color or black and white.  The quality I would say is fair/good on standard quality.  Not going to win any awards, but gets enough of a job done that it doesn’t need a few other copies to be made.  The Fine quality option gets a lot of the image more exactly, but it is more ink-intensive and it can make the paper feel a bit too soaked with ink.  Like I said, nothing special, and not a bad copy option at home.  The front has a media card area to insert certain cards to print off photos or documents as well as a USB port to import items from your jump drive. You also have the ability to make changes to the setup on the printer itself on functionality, but I did not find this useful on my end. 

With printing, the printing speed says it is 33 PPM in black and white and 30 in Color.  Now, this is based on how close the PC is to the router and printer since if you are further away from the wireless printer, you might as well park yourself at the printer for a while for 33 pages as it takes closer to about 10 minutes for me (again, printer upstairs, laptop and router downstairs).  It takes a black cartridge, and a separate cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridge (so you don’t have to replace a whole color one each time a color is out, which I guess makes sense)… with their Vizik ink that allows it to print a 4x6 picture in 24 seconds…or else they tell me.  Haven’t tried it, but I guess that is with the included printer cable cord attached to the PC (they also give you a phone cord as well).  The printer is not quiet either and it will shake a lot when printing, so make sure it is on a solid surface. 

Overall, it is a good purchase for a wireless printer.  Not the top of the pack, but not close to the bottom (per Consumer Reports).  A good idea if space is limited and you don’t want to be tied to a long printer cord.  I am happy with it except for the wireless issues, which makes me wonder if it is even worth the extra money to do it this way as I end up spending more time messing with the connectivity issues than enjoying the time savings.   

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