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 user 2008-08-15 at 2:42:09 pm Views: 76
  • #20334

    Lexmark X2650
    A distinctly no-frills multifunction
    The X2650 is a bargain bin device at the bottom end of Lexmark’s inkjet multifunction range. Its price point may appeal to those looking for a cheap printer, but poor speed and print quality, and expensive inks make this a multifunction that’s easy to pass by.

    It has no card reader, and its PC-less functions are limited to simple copying and initiating image scans. A single character LED screen serves the sole purpose of indicating the number of copies made. We don’t expect too much from a multifunction at this price — the mere fact that it can print, scan and copy seems worth the $69.

    Unlike most budget printers, the X2650 is surprisingly sturdy. Although it still has a very plastic and cheap feel to it, its hinges don’t seem as fragile as some others we’ve seen. There are still some poor design choices — when changing printer inks, the support that holds up the printer’s upper half must be manually readjusted in order to fit back into its slot. The use of a rear paper tray rather than a front one is also a pity, as it means the printer takes up more space.

    The appeal of the X2650′s initial price point is quickly diminished by its running costs. The multifunction will cost an average of 36.6c per page, making it one of the most expensive multifunctions on the market in terms of running costs. Given the 14-15c per page achieved by most of its competitors, the X2650 is unappealing.

    Print speeds are horrible — mono text documents will print at 12 page per minute using draft quality and 8.6ppm using normal quality. Graphics documents are even slower, printing at 8.6ppm in draft quality and taking 35 seconds to completely print in normal quality. Photo printing shows marginally better results, with a standard 4x6in photo printing in 32sec, and A4 photos taking 1min 32sec. While we don’t expect laser speeds from a budget multifunction, these results are inadequate; only Epson’s budget counterpart Stylus CX5500 has worse speeds.

    Quality is not stunning, either. Text is largely clear and tidy, if a little faded. Adding background highlights in graphical documents make text much messier, with inconsistent background colours and some horizontal banding. Vertical banding plagues photos printed from the X2650, a flaw further highlighted by under-saturated colours and extremely poor blacks. Even at the best possible quality, vertical banding simply ruins the image, making it one of the worst photo printers we’ve seen.

    Scanning does offer some consolation. Whereas the more expensive X4650 produced overly light images, images scanned by the X2650 are much more balanced. Colours and flesh tones are generally accurate, and the multifunction can scan clean text for later copying or OCR processing.

    For the most part, the X2650 is a cheap and dirty multifunction that serves no purpose other than to provide an emergency option in times of printing crisis. Speed and quality are both substandard, but might suffice for urgent printing. Given the consumable efficiency of this printer, it seems more logical to shell out for a brand new printer rather than have to refill the cartridges on the X2650.