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Some people might think Lexmark makes too many all-in-one devices for its own good. It currently has 14 showing on its web site under Home Products and while some of these may be end-of-life machines, it does makes choices in this crowded market trickier.
The X3480 employs a very similar design to the X2470, reviewed recently, though with a couple of important extras. The square-cut block with the cutaway corner now has a small sloping control panel projecting from its front and a series of slots and sockets at the right for plugging in cards and cameras.
Three memory card slots provide for all the major types, including xD and Microdrive. There’s also a PictBridge socket to connect a compatible camera and this is probably a better option than using cards, as you can use your camera’s display to select images.
Printing from a memory card is a bit tricky without an LCD monitor, though Lexmark makes the best of it by printing a proof sheet, where you can select images, number and size of prints and the type of paper, by filling in little circles and scanning. Instructions appear on the LCD strip and the process is pretty straightforward, if a bit wasteful of ink.
Paper follows a very conventional path, from a near vertical tray at the rear to a pull-out and slightly flimsy one at the front. Sockets at the back accommodate a power lead and a USB 2.0 cable, the only data connection on the X3480.
Lift the main body of the scanner section of the machine up and the cartridge holder moves to the centre of the carriage, so you can slip in the single, No. 2, cartridge. According to Lexmark, this cartridge differs from the No. 1 only in its physical shape, offering the same head architecture and capacity.
There’s a useful bundle of software with the machine, including OCR for recognising scanned text, and a simple photo editor for tidying up your images. There's also straightforward document management and a fax applet – it all installs painlessly.
Lexmark quotes ‘up to 17 pages per minute’ from the X3480 but you’re unlikely ever to get close to this. Although we managed to better 17ppm by printing a two-line text document in Quick Print mode (and excluding processing time), Quick Print produces bluey-green text, with obvious kinks in the characters, and is really only suitable for personal drafts. Printing a typical five-page, formatted document in normal mode (including processing time) gives a real-world print speed of 2.2ppm.