The X1150 is one of a new breed of all-in-one devices from Lexmark. It’s much lower to the desk than previous machines of its type and looks like a squat, personal photocopier. With just four buttons and a power switch on its control panel, it’s very easy to use, relying heavily on the Windows or Macintosh drivers provided with it. All documentation, like the software, is on CD.
A single USB cable plugs in at the back to connect the X1150 to your PC and the two small ink cartridges, one black and the other tri-colour, clip in easily once you’ve hinged the scanning bed up on its red support strut. Paper feeds from a near-vertical tray at the rear to a pull-out tray at the front.
The device can print at up to 4,800 x 1,200dpi and scan at up to 600 x 1,200ppi (9,600ppi with interpolation), but in normal print the resolution is a lot lower. Even so, a five page Word document took 1minute 15 seconds to print, hardly the 10.5ppm claimed by Lexmark. Print speeds should be assisted by the device’s use of the faster USB 2 serial link.
There are several problems with the X1150, some due to its low cost, others due to mistakes in software design. The asking price of the device is so low that it’s perhaps not surprising it has to be connected to a computer, with that computer switched on, to be able to make a copy. Even so, it’s an inconvenience and one which even HP’s lowest priced all-in-ones don’t create.
There’s no real excuse, though, for not tying paper type to print quality in the device’s driver. In this, and all other new Lexmark units, when you set-up to print on glossy paper, costing up to a pound a sheet, the software doesn’t automatically select Best print quality, but by default leaves it at Normal. If you don’t notice and don’t manually set the print quality to Best, you effectively waste your media investment.
And then there’s the X1150′s print quality. The company produced a new cartridge and head design last year, but although the cartridges are smaller than previously – one reason why the X1150 is such a low-profile device – there’s little noticeable improvement to the quality of prints. Plain paper, colour prints look fuzzy when compared with their competitors and you can clearly see the dither patterns. Photo prints are better, but still not up to the quality of Lexmark’s main rivals.
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