You've only got to look on Lexmark's site to see there are numerous ways to dress up an all-in-one printer to appeal to a variety of different customers. The X4650 is aimed at the home and student populations, but has a more serious appearance and a lower asking price than many.
Perhaps the fashion for piano-black and ice-white cases has run its course, as this machine has reverted to a silk black with a silver wraparound and looks more purposeful for it. It has a conventional paper path, leading from a steeply inclined feed tray at the rear to a pull-out, output tray at the front. Lift the top cover and you can see the Contact Image Sensor scan head. Using a CIS scanner keeps the mechanism thin and any warm-up time short.
To the right of the scanner is a simple control panel, using a high-contrast, white-on-black, two-line LED display that works much better than typical LCD panels, no matter what the ambient lighting. The seven adjustment buttons sit behind a silvered bank of four, which switch modes and start a copy job. Right at the front is a power button, with an inset light, which pulses when the device is in sleep mode.
Below the controls is a standard pair of memory card slots, which cater for the common types, though not for a Microdrive. There's a PictBridge socket there, too. At the back, as well as the ubiquitous USB socket, there's a stubby Wi-Fi aerial, as this machine, like so many recent Lexmark all-in-ones, is wireless networkable straight from the box.
Hardware installation is as simple as lifting up the scanner section and plugging in a couple of cartridges. The X4650 uses a black and a tri-colour cartridge, with the option of fitting a photo cartridge instead of the black, if you're after six-ink photos.
The software bundle includes Abbyy Sprint OCR software and the usual applets for printing photos and scanning. Without a colour LCD to preview thumbnails of images from memory cards, the easiest way to work is to upload the thumbnails to the supplied PC application and print them from there.
Lexmark's print driver has had a makeover and is cleaner and easier to understand. There's more automation to the setup, too so, for example, when we printed our test photo on Automatic, the printer chose best quality print and recognised Lexmark's Premium Photo Paper.