Lexmark P6350 review

£85
Price when reviewed

Dedicated scanners, printers and copiers will invariably beat an all-in-one for quality and performance, but there are models such as the Canon Pixma MP780 that make an impressive attempt at all three. Unfortunately, the Lexmark P6350 doesn’t possess the same talents, although at around half the price it certainly has its merits.

With a 6cm LCD screen it’s a usable standalone machine, with card readers and a PictBridge connector making it simple to use without booting up your PC. It takes two ink cartridges: one colour photo cartridge and a choice of standard tri-colour or black in the other slot.

Lexmark’s claims of 17ppm standard colour printing seemed high as we watched the first pages crawl out at under 2ppm, but this figure is only achievable with the black cartridge fitted. It’s disappointing, then, that Lexmark doesn’t provide one in the box – you’ll have to spend the extra £18 if you want the fast quoted speeds.

Text quality is good, with little spidering, although in draft documents the alignment is poor. Unfortunately, photo quality isn’t so good, with our 6 x 4in prints taking on a yellow cast: they fall a long way short of the vivid detail provided by the MP780. Speeds are similar to the Canon, though, taking just under three minutes per photo.

The scanner leaves something to be desired with its painfully snail-like pace of operation. The scans themselves came out well, with a 600ppi image in particular showing all the required detail of our test image. But speeds of 16 seconds for a 6 x 4in photo at 150ppi, and two minutes, ten seconds for a 12 x 10in 600ppi image feel incredibly slow compared with the MP780: this took eight seconds and 42 seconds respectively.

This could be forgiven if the copied image came out perfectly when printed, but our 6 x 4in photos took on a blue cast to the yellow results of the original file. The level of detail in the copy also dropped significantly, with areas of pixelation and noise showing up clearly, and at just over five minutes it isn’t worth the wait.

As with other types of mono printing, copying text documents benefits greatly from the presence of the black ink cartridge. Without it, the maximum speed of 1.25ppm we achieved in testing will soon make A4 copying a tiresome process. The quality is reasonable, however, with the only marked difference from the original being a slightly bolder look to the text. Copying in draft quality speeds things up, although with the expected drop to pale and spidery text.

Using high-yield cartridges you’ll get reasonable value for your money. Mono printing works out at 3.7p per page, and colour at 4p, which is a little way behind the best in the field. But colour 6 x 4in photos cost just 13.3p per print, placing the Lexmark alongside the cost-effective MP780. The only downside is having to change between the standard black and colour cartridges depending on your needs, which soon becomes irritating.

On the plus side, the Lexmark P6350 is a very usable printer, even for beginners, and it offers more features than the similarly priced HP PSC 1215, if not the quality. But compared to the competition, it simply doesn’t have the quality or performance to warrant a recommendation.

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