Lexmark X7170 review
On paper, the X7170 is a tempting proposition. Lexmark’s flagship all-in-one has a fax machine, an ADF (automatic document feeder) and a maximum quoted print speed of 22ppm – specifications to rival good laser all-in-ones – at a bargain price.
Not for the first time, we were unable to match the speed claims, with the X7170 achieving 13ppm in Draft mode. In Normal mode, we saw nothing beyond 9ppm. But don’t let this cloud the fact that, compared to the other inkjet all-in-ones, this is a nippy printer. Its only poor speed performance was when tackling our complex DTP document, with its time of over five minutes being the second slowest here.
Despite the wait, there was clear banding in the printout, which, coupled with grainy images, meant that quality was some of the poorest we saw. Text handling was better, though. For example, few will notice the feathery characters of coloured text at normal reading distances. White-on-black text printed poorly, with the characters being some distance off true white. Bold black text, likewise, wasn’t crisp enough.
Lexmark sells a £17 photo cartridge to boost photo printing, but quality was still lacking. Grain was a problem, while prints showed banding and colours lacked boldness.
Things were no better with our photocopied glossy photo. Not only did three copies take 11 minutes, 41 seconds to print, the results were the worst of the bunch. Poor definition and soft edges made photos blurry. Mono documents copied as well as they printed, but suffered from badly defined characters and slow print speeds – just 3.8ppm in Normal mode.
The ADF test helped to redeem the X7170: colours weren’t spectacular, but the weak-feeling mechanism proved effective and finished our four-page copy test in three minutes, 14 seconds. The X7170’s flatbed scanning capabilities were reasonable too. Only the 300ppi candles test revealed problems. Contrast was poor, so dark areas of the image lacked detail. However, lighter colours scanned richly and we saw no banding. Plus, the 12 x 10in print scanned in 31 seconds at 300ppi.
It’s clear that the X7170 is aimed at a completely different audience to the P6250, but it fails in the same areas. It’s just as expensive to run, and it offers poor print quality when compared to its rivals. By contrast, the Dell is a better option for small businesses requiring a fax and an ADF. It offers cheaper running costs, better quality and a £34 lower price. If you have a bigger budget, though, the MP780 is the obvious choice.