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Editing facilities within the firmware are limited. You can crop an image by creating a moveable window onto it at any of four different zoom levels and you can rotate an image on the page. Prints can be in colour or black and white with any of seven levels of brightness, but there’s no sepia option, nor any to add a frame.
Lexmark also claims in its publicity that you can adjust the sharpness of images before printing them, but we could find no menu option or control which offered this. There’s no mention of sharpening in the printer’s manual, either.
We printed test images from a SmartMedia card and a PictBridge camera as borderless 15 x 10cm prints. Speeds varied slightly with the complexity of the image, but averaged out at around two and three quarter minutes from the relatively high-speed interface of a memory card. Direct from the camera, prints took around three minutes each. Neither of these times is particularly quick, with the P315’s rivals producing the same-sized print in little over a minute.
Print quality is acceptable, without being top tier. Colours are generally accurate, gradations are smooth and tints are close to the originals. There’s nothing particularly compelling about the prints you get out though, particularly when you compare the output directly with the P315’s main competitors.
Lexmark has just started to sell the inspiringly named ‘Photo Printing Pack for the P315’. This little box contains all you need to produce 70, 6 x 4in photo prints as it includes a three colour ink cartridge and 70 blanks. At a price of just under £20, this gives a cost per print of just under 29p.
The cost compares favourably with other printers producing photograph-sized prints, though you can buy the ink cartridge – the Color 33 – and 6 x 4in blanks separately, and by shopping around you may be able to reduce running costs further.
This is a novel little printer, designed for a specific task and dealing with it pretty well. The lack of a PC connection looks more like a cost-saving exercise than a bold marketing leap, but does keep the device well under £100. The photo print quality still isn't up to Canon, Epson or HP, but for typical home use, it’s good enough not to cause furrowed brows.
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