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Lexmark has recently done the facelift thing on its range of home and school inkjet all-in-ones and the X5650 sits firmly in the middle of this market. At relatively low cost, the machine is designed for printing, scanning, copying, photo print and fax. Even with the new look, though, the print engine is little changed from its predecessors.
Borrowing something from Canon’s curvy black and silver profiles, Lexmark uses mid-grey instead of silver and has designed its new machine with a wraparound effect, which is both functional and easy on the eye.
Lexmark has put a small handle on the right-hand side of the machine’s paper feed tray, to adjust the paper guides without having to move them by hand. We can't see this as a big advantage and we also wonder about the sprung flap, sitting in front of the tray – as with so many recent Lexmark models. It doesn't appear to do anything useful. We thought at first these flaps were designed to stop dust falling into the feed mechanisms, but considering the size of the gap between this flap and the paper, it must be pretty ineffective.
The most interesting thing at the front of the X5650 is its two-line status display, which appears to be a white-on-black LED panel, rather than the more normal LCD. Although the size still restricts the display to around 16 characters and longer messages have to scroll to be read, the display is much brighter and higher contrast than any LCD and is easily read under low light.
The control panel is well laid out, with four silver mode buttons at the top, a power button to the left and a copy start button to the right. Below these are a number pad, menu control and specialist buttons for the address book, redial and other functions.
As well as memory card sockets for all the major card types, the PictBridge socket also takes a standard memory stick, by default downloading all jpeg and tif files found to a Lexmark application on your PC. It's also possible to select and print photos without a computer, using a proof sheet.
The Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanner on top scans at up to 600 x 1,200ppi optically and the 25-sheet Auto Document Feed (ADF) is neat and sits flat on top of the scanner. You can scan to a PC or a flash drive plugged directly into the machine.
The X5650 runs on two cartridges, one black and the other tri-colour, but you can replace the black cartridge with a three-colour photo one to improve pastel shades. Once you've lifted the scanner section of the device, these two cartridges clip into a head carrier in standard Lexmark fashion and are easy to maintain.
Along with its looks, the supporting software supplied with the X5650 has been revamped. Although the copy of Abbyy Finereader OCR is as before, but other applications have been streamlined so, for instance, the Productivity Studio handles scanning, OCR, e-mailing and fax, as well as more standard photo manipulation. You can make posters and greetings cards using this software, too.