As far as first impressions go, Lexmark’s Interact S605 doesn’t disappoint. Gracing the front of the chassis is an extra-large, colour touch-screen display. We’ve seen touch-screens on printers before, but nothing quite like the Interact 605′s display. Best of all, it’s extremely responsive and therefore easy to use.
There’s no fax module included, but the S605 does come with a flatbed scanner perched on top, which provides both copy and scan functions. At the front sits a PictBridge USB port along with a card reader that accepts SD, Memorystick, xD and MMC formats. Given the glorious LCD screen, it’s something of a surprise that it’s not possible to edit photos when printing direct from a memory card.
As well as a traditional USB connection, the Interact S605 also comes with wireless networking built in. You can either use the software to hunt down your network, or setup everything using the printer’s on-screen menus. Driver support is also good, with Windows XP, Vista and 7 catered for, along with Mac OS X and even Linux.
An interesting feature of the Interact S605 is the Smart Solutions tool, which makes use of the printer’s wireless abilities. You first register the printer on Lexmark’s Smart Solutions website, and then choose from a range of widgets to download; these then appear on the printer’s home screen. Some are fairly dull, not least the shortcut to scan documents to email. Others are more useful, such as the Google Calendar widget that lets you view and print appointments at the touch of a button.
The only downside is that there are very few widgets to choose from at present; we counted just 16 on the Smart Solutions site. More will undoubtedly appear over time, but just how many and of what calibre remains to be seen.
In the past, Lexmark’s printers haven’t been the quietest models on the block, but the Interact S605 changes all this. There’s no clunking when it grabs a sheet of paper, nor does it create a racket when putting ink to page. Instead it’s quiet, smooth and a vast improvement over previous models.
It’s no slouch, either, with Lexmark quoting mono print speeds at up to 33ppm; although it’s also sensible enough to highlight that this is when draft mode is used. When printing at the default setting, Lexmark claims 18ppm.
Always curious to put manufacturers’ claims to the test, we didn’t hesitate in running our own print speed tests. Using a fairly sparse text document, we managed 30ppm in draft and just under 18ppm when using the default setting, both of which are very fast for an inkjet and tantalisingly close to Lexmark’s figures. Bear in mind, however, that these don’t take into account the time it takes for the first page to arrive, which on average takes 14 seconds.
The Interact S605 is also remarkably quick when printing in colour, although this isn’t necessarily a good thing. At the highest quality setting, a 6 x 4-inch colour photo arrived in 35 seconds, while a full A4 print only took marginally longer at just over one minute.
The prints look reasonably good and darker shades are handled well, although colours aren’t as rich as we’d like. We also weren’t too impressed with the level of fine detail it managed to conjure up, with speckling clearly visible on the A4 print. Thankfully this is less noticeable on smaller-sized prints, but given the cost of the printer we were hoping for a little better.
We’ve absolutely no qualms regarding text quality, though, with the test prints almost indistinguishable from that of a laser printer.
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