Lexmark produces a number of capable, budget printers and all-in-one devices – so we were surprised to see the company breaking the multifunction printer mould a little with the innovatively designed Genesis S815. Combining print, scan, fax and copy functions, the attractive unit opts for a vertical design, sleek black and silver lines, and a 4.5in full-colour touchscreen for operation, web access and photo/image viewing.
The single, vertical paper tray of the Genesis can hold up to 100 A4 pages – but with no dedicated photo tray, other formats must also be loaded here. Thankfully this is easy to do, using a handy slider control that moves into place some grips that hold the paper – a system that works very effectively.
The S815 also offers a PictBridge-certified USB port and multi-format card reader at the side, enabling you to print directly from cameras a memory cards.
All of these functions are accessible via the device’s display, which offers full touchscreen controls and bright, vibrant icons that make it really easy to navigate the features of the printer and adjust output settings. It also offers access to Lexmark’s SmartSolutions collection, which requires an account setup but then offers access to a range of widgets, printable online content and browsable resources. You’re restricted to the resources that are on offer from Lexmark, but with over 60 available in various categories there’s plenty here to help entertain, increased productivity and access potentially valuable resources.
Print speeds and quality
Lexmark quotes mono print speeds of 33ppm draft and 18ppm at standard quality, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our ten-page test document took two minutes (5ppm) at standard quality, and just under a minute and a half (7ppm) on draft. Running the same document through the duplexer took three minutes (3ppm) – certainly not the kind of speed that will appeal to those who are interested in high-yield output.
Text quality was excellent, though – and we found nothing to criticise in either draft or standard prints. Lettering was clean, crisp and clear even at the smallest font sizes, and monochrome graphics showed accurate gradation in shades.
The device took a similarly long time to output colour photos. In our tests, a borderless A4 was returned to us in three and a half minutes, and a 7x5in snap in just over a minute. Photo quality was superb however, with an excellent degree of detail, effective contrast, and accurate colour reproduction. It’s among the best we’ve seen from a mid-level inkjet – a big plus for those looking to print digital snaps at home.
One of the Genesis’s headline functions is its ‘three-second flash scan’, which we’re pleased to report works extremely well. When a page is loaded into the scanner tray the device automatically snaps a picture of it to display on the main screen. From here you can choose to copy, scan or fax the image, adjust quality, orientation and brightness before setting the job in motion – and yes, amazingly it does take just three seconds to arrive at your computer, even using the Genesis’s wireless connection.
The scanner’s image quality was generally good, though we noticed a slight graininess to images, particularly in darker areas. For most tasks it’s still adequate, but if accurate photo reproduction is a priority, you may left disappointed.
We were very impressed by the Genesis’s overall quality, innovative styling, effective colour display, and its handy quick-scan facility. Our biggest gripe is print speed, which in spite of the often impressive results, may be too slow for many. Given the very high asking price of £400, we’d have expected a higher level of performance
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