Lexmark X4550 review

Price when reviewed

Wireless home networks are now the norm, but while most manufacturers still see a Wi-Fi adapter as a selling point for their premium models, Lexmark is adding it to printers at all prices.

Lexmark X4550 review

The X4550 is the only home all-in-one on test to offer wireless printing and scanning. It’s also easy to install and use, with a wizard that holds your hand through every action you’ll need to perform.

Ironically, the initial wireless setup requires a USB cable, so unlike others here the X4550 comes bundled with one. It will probably go straight back in the box once complete, but if you later decide to use the device over a wired connection you’ll need to run the installation a second time to set it up.

You can wirelessly print from or scan to any computer on your network and, although the two-line LCD isn’t easy to navigate, it does offer a wide choice of applications to send your scanned image to. Plus, if the printer loses the wireless connection, the light on the front will glow a variety of colours to let you know exactly what the problem is.

But not everything is as new and impressive as the wireless adapter. Print quality is variable to say the least, with clean and bright colour graphics from the 35 tricolour cartridge, but grainy and overly yellow 6 x 4in prints with the photo cartridge installed. And despite the consistently accurate colours in all of our scan tests, the slight lack of focus and visible grain brought down the quality of copies.

It’s also erratic in terms of speed, being the quickest of the home devices with mono documents at 8.8ppm, but the joint slowest with colour at 2.8ppm. It took longer than all the rest to scan our test image at 600ppi (79 seconds), yet took only 26 seconds longer to scan the same image at 1,200ppi.

There’s no doubt that wireless printing and scanning is a big attraction, especially at this price, but that doesn’t make up for the rest of the X4550’s weaknesses. It’s a step forward and we hope it will encourage more manufacturers to lower their wireless prices, but the X4550’s quality and speed can’t keep up with its cutting-edge features.

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