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All the main consumer printer makers have dedicated ‘photo lab’ style printers, which specialise in printing 6 x 4 inch (15 x 10 cm) digital prints. Lexmark’s P450 is the first printer to include a CD-R drive inside it though, for easy archiving of your photo sets.
This is a very neat design, with a slimline, 61mm LCD display which folds up from the top cover of the printer, to reveal six button control panel. None of the buttons has any captioning, but all rely on icons to show their function. Such is the good design of the menuing system, they’re all pretty obvious, offering left and right, select, move up and start. The only slightly less than clear button is the one with the paint palette on it, but this is for image editing.
There’s no way to connect the P450 to a PC; it’s purely a standalone photo lab, but there are still two sockets at the back. The first of these is a phono socket, to connect a video lead to a domestic TV for slideshows, while the second is for USB 2-based memory drives and Bluetooth adapters. Bluetooth is an optional extra, which enables you to print from mobile phones.
The majority of connections are at the front however, with a PictBridge socket on the left and memory card slots at the right. In between these two is the notebook-style CD-R drive. This can be used for both archiving pictures from camera or memory cards, or to playback to the LCD or a TV screen.
There's very little to install in the P450, as there's no PC connection and the only consumable is a single, three-colour ink cartridge, available in standard or high-yield versions. When you raise the printer’s lid, a single carrier sits waiting in the centre of the carriage for you to clip the cartridge into.
6 x 4-inch (15 x 10cm) photo blanks are loaded in a near-vertical tray at the back and feed through to a pull-down tray at the front. They’re particularly easy to load, as the tray includes a spring-loaded paper guide.
Using the P450 is remarkably easy. You can connect a camera, plug in a memory card, drop in a CD or plug in a USB memory drive and then select View & Print from the rotating top level menu. Browsing through the images in your chosen media, you select and edit those you want and then print them out. Other options provide index sheets, slide shows and the ability to burn pictures to a CD-R.
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