Lexmark X5470 multifunction printer

The Lexmark X5470 is an extremely affordable, all-in-one, inkjet printer that includes some surprising features--a built-in color fax machine and sheet-fed copier—--not expected in bargain-basement models. Print times were on the slow side, and print quality, though good, won’t satisfy picky shutterbugs. But for people on a tight budget who just want to print out e-mail, occasional photos, and send and receive faxes, the X5470 delivers more than its money’s worth.

Simple at a glance

Weighing only 14 pounds, the Lexmark X5470 is easy to handle and set up. It connects to your computer primarily through USB; and Lexmark also offers standard Ethernet connectivity and wireless options for $129 and $149, respectively. The printer is simple to a fault: The ink system holds only two cartridges at a time. A tri-color cartridge containing cyan, magenta, and yellow remains installed at all times, but you must swap the photo-color and black ink cartridges in and out if you want to take full advantage of the printer’s multifunctional capabilities. And while it’s easy enough to lift the printer’s cover to swap cartridges, the X5470 also requires you to run through a print head alignment regimen on a sheet of plain paper each time you do.

The X5470’s software is simple but limited. Lexmark includes a CD, which performs a smooth installation of the scanner and printer drivers—but once everything is set up, there isn’t much you can change. When printing photos, for example, there is no option to turn off the printer software’s color conversion features. Advanced digital photographers use Adobe Photoshop for photo printing because of its superior color capability—but this probably isn’t the printer they’d choose.

The printer’s faxing and copying functions are convenient for basic use. The X5470 features an automatic document feeder that easily produces quick copies at the press of a button. For faxing, the auto feeder eliminates the need to perfectly align a document on a scanner bed before sending it. Quality and paper settings for copying and faxing are easily accessible through the X5470’s menu panel, but again, customization options are limited.

Photographers on the run can quickly print their photos using the printer’s media-card reader. The X5470 does not offer a preview LCD screen, so you must print a proof sheet displaying thumbnails of every photo on the media card. Then, using a pencil or pen to mark which photos to print, simply scan in your marked up proof sheet, and the printer fills your order. Unfortunately, there are very few options for print-quality settings when using the menu panel, so unless you must print a photo as quickly as possible, we’d recommend sticking with the old-fashioned method of importing images into a photo application for more control over the prints.

Performance

Though the X5470 turned in sluggish print speeds, taking about four minutes to print a 10-page Microsoft Word document, our Macworld jury judged the output as Good in two of our three print tests, especially photographic images that were printed with the photo-color cartridge installed. There were faint horizontal lines visible on the printed photos, like those found on lower resolution printers of yesteryear, but the colors were pleasing, if a little on the red side.

Scan speeds were a little better, but the printer doesn’t offer the same high resolution or color-bit depth of most stand-alone scanners (it outputs only 24-bit files). And, the resulting images were rated by our panel as just Fair, with the photo scan being a bit dark and red and the high-resolution test scan lacking the detail found in other multifunction units we’ve tested.

Timed Trials: Print

10-page Word test 3:59
1-page Word test 0:29
22MB Photoshop image 5:35
4-page PDF 4:23

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

timed trials: scan

8-by-10-inch Photo, 600 dpi scan 1:50
4-by-6-inch Photo, 1,200dpi scan 1:07

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

jury tests: print

Graphics: Fine Lines and Gradients Fair
22MB Photoshop Image Quality Good
Text Quality Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

jury tests: scan/copy

Color Good
Clarity Fair
Copy Fair

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

specifications

Print Resolution 4800x1200 dpi (color); 1200x1200 (black)
Scan Resolution: optical 600 dpi
Max Scanning Bit Depth (output) 24 bit
Connection USB 2.0; PictBridge; optional Ethernet and wireless
Paper Sizes 4x6, legal, letter, up to 8.5x17, No. 10 envelopes
Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Cartridges $67 ($20 for black; $25 for photo color; $22 for color)
Weight (in pounds) 14
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 7.6x12.6x17.9
Paper Capacity 100 sheets
Special Features ADF for copier; proofsheet scanning for photo prints; color fax

Macworld’s buying advice

The Lexmark X5470 is an easy-to-use printer made for budget conscious users. But its lack of advanced controls, low-resolution scans, and sluggish print speeds will have the wealthier, pickier printer shopper looking elsewhere.

[ Jim Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. Brian Chen is an assistant editor. ]

Lexmark X5470

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