Shelling out top dollar on a printer and finding cut-down “starter” inks in the box is an insult the printer industry seems unwilling to stop dishing out, so full marks to Lexmark for taking the opposite approach. With the X4875 (and the dearer X9575) you get a set of full-whack, high-yield XL cartridges to get you going without the need for an early trip to the shops.
Credit to Lexmark, also, for being the first to embrace Wi-Fi as a printer accessory that shouldn’t cost the earth. Others have now cottoned on but the X4875 comes with the easy-to-set-up 802.11g that has been standard on Lexmark’s range for some time now. The CD guides you through every step, and the traffic light indicator on the device gives a quick idea of whether you’re on a network at any time.
Of course, you also get the usual USB port and for most people that’s still the simplest connection. A 2.4in colour LCD contains a raft of options, and although it at times spreads across a few too many scrolling menus, it’s pretty easy to use. There’s a built-in duplex unit for two-sided printing, and a card reader on the front for all the major formats including xD.
But while all these features go some way towards justifying the fairly high $148 price, the quality and speed of the device do not. Text is a bit frayed around the edges, and the colour tone of photos is just not natural – unless you like your prints to come straight out of the printer aged and yellowing, we wouldn’t recommend the X4875 as a photo printer. The scanner is equally disappointing, getting the lighting and tone of our test images all wrong.
But document printing is what the Lexmark is mainly intended for, and speeds of 6.4ppm for mono and 2.1ppm for colour documents are in the middle of the pack. The driver speaks a truly irritating “printing started” message before every job until you disable it – and you will – but all-in-all the X4875 isn’t bad as an office printer.
The sticking point, though, is the price. For $10 less you can pick up the Canon Pixma MP520, which offers better quality output. Or, if you desperately need the Wi-Fi, the Dell V305w is the king of the wireless printers at a shade over $100.
This Review appeared in the November, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine