Summary

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6/10

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It's not obvious why Lexmark needs quite so many all-in-one printers in its range. There are currently 30 different models, with the X4975ve sitting between the X4950 and the X5075, by model number at least, though not by specification. The X4975ve is a SOHO all-in-one, with printing, copying, scanning and photo image handling.

Lexmark includes it as part of its Professional range, the main features of which seem to be supplying high-yield cartridges and extending the warranty from one to five years.

The X4975ve looks squat and functional. Coloured in black and silver, Lexmark has managed to keep the overall height down, even though it uses a near-vertical paper feed, angled up at the back.

There are two current designs of Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), one steeply raked which relies on gravity to feed document pages, while the other can be completely horizontal and uses a technique similar to the feeder in a paper tray to pick up each sheet. That's the design used here.

The ADF is built into the top of the flatbed scanner and in front of this is a simplified and slightly lopsided-looking control panel. A 61mm colour LCD sits in the centre of the panel with mode buttons directly above, while all other controls, including a square or cursor keys for menu navigation and a scattering of other controls, all sit to the right of it.

To the right of the control panel itself are two memory card slots and a third for PictBridge, which doubles as a socket for USB drives. The machine can read and print graphic files from the drive. An output tray pulls out from the front, with a flip up support to stop pages spewing onto the desk.

At the back of the machine are sockets for USB and Ethernet, as well as a stub aerial used for wireless connection, which is standard on the X4975ve. Setting the machine up for a Wi-Fi connection involves connecting it temporarily with the supplied USB cable. This shouldn't be necessary, as most other manufacturers offer wireless setup from the front panels of their machines, but it's not a problem, unless you can't position printer and computer close enough to each other.

Installing the two ink cartridges, one black and the other tri-colour, is as simple as lifting the scanner section and plugging them into the carriers in the head carriage. Lexmark's software bundle includes a well-designed driver, as well as a copy of Abbyy Finereader Sprint for OCR, its own Productivity Studio and a browser bar for neatly printing web pages.

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