Lexmark P6250 Photo review

Price when reviewed

Branded as a home photo kiosk, Lexmark has clearly put some effort into making the P6250 easy to use.

Lexmark P6250 Photo review

With an array of intuitive control buttons, a 2.5in LCD screen that displays instructions at the slightest provocation, PictBridge support and a multiformat card reader, it’s even easy to use without a PC. And, if you do hook it up to a computer, the printer driver is biased toward user-friendliness. There are only limited options on show, although a little digging reveals advanced collation and quality settings.

So far so good, but the actual print results from the P6250 are no more than adequate. Text is dark and sharp at default settings, but it breaks up in draft mode. We were disappointed by the speed too -1.4ppm matches the almost half-price Epson and although draft prints came out at a speedier 10.8ppm, the quality suffered. Infuriatingly, you can’t print in draft quality when the photo cartridge is installed, despite it containing black ink.

Black-and-white photo printing onto Lexmark’s Premium paper resulted in prints with a green hue and visible dithering artefacts. The results are usable, but they hardly make the most of the medium’s subtlety. Draft printing images isn’t recommended either, as the banded results are of little use.

Colour printing onto plain paper frequently suffers from a grainy finish, although a high-resolution photo on Premium paper produced more pleasing results, with skin tones looking warm and colours being generally rich and balanced. Areas of detail were well reproduced, with none of the obvious dithering apparent on monochrome prints. There’s an accurate countdown timer to show you how long you’ll be waiting for your print – a nice touch. An A4 photo print took 5 minutes, 30 seconds – just beating the Epson, but still not remarkably fast. At default settings, 6 x 4in prints will appear in about 3 minutes.

The P6250 also holds your hand during scanning and, as with printing, there’s a countdown timer that displays how long you’ll have to wait. Previewing is reasonably quick, at 15 seconds, and although the preview window is on the small side, the driver intelligently crops images. Scan resolution options are limited, meaning we couldn’t test at our favoured 150dpi for text. A full A4 scan at 200dpi took 24 seconds, and 16 seconds at 100dpi.

Quality was excellent, with a good level of detail and, aside from slightly under-saturated reds, prints were balanced with accurate colours. Text is of more than sufficient quality for document archival, or OCR, and to that end Lexmark has also included OCR software integrated in the driver. It coped well with our test document, which includes formatted text, a bar graph and a table. Text was reproduced accurately, with style and formatting retained, and it even replicated graphics well.

On the whole though, the Lexmark fails to impress. Build quality is reasonable, although the unit itself is bulky, and while Lexmark deserves praise for ease of use, it isn’t flawless; the erratic paper sensor, for example, makes switching between media complicated. These foibles, along with below-par print quality, would be forgiven in a sub-£100 unit, but it’s disappointing given the competition. When you can buy the Epson Stylus CX3600 for less, or spend the same on the HP PSC 2355, there’s simply no contest.

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