As we've commented before, all of Lexmark's new range of inkjet all-in-ones use the same new Vizix print engine, so whether you pay £370 for the Professional series Platinum Pro 905 or £90 for the Impact , reviewed here, you can expect to get the same print quality, speed and consumable costs. This one should therefore be something of a bargain, shouldn't it?
The Impact S305 has a fairly simple design, with none of the extra paper trays or document feeders of the more expensive models in the range, but it still has several useful extras.
Paper feeds from a fold-up tray at the rear, with a little spring-loaded flap in front that nobody seems to be able to explain the reason for. We used to think it was to prevent dust falling into the feed slot, but there's still a substantial space between the paper stack and this flap, even when the tray is fully loaded.
A small slider on the right of the paper support adjusts the width guides, which makes loading photo paper easier than delving into the feed slot.
The Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanner is simple and thin, so adds little to the overall height of the machine and runs its full width, so there's no extra space taken by a control panel. As with all these new Lexmark all-in-ones, the control panel sits at an angle projecting from the front of the machine. It has a simple, mono LCD display, though this is bitmapped, rather than being two lines of 16 characters, so can show limited graphical information.
Set into the front right-hand corner of the machine are two memory card slots, but there's also a PictBridge socket for direct camera connection, which can also take USB drives. Some rival makes have taken to dropping the PictBridge socket on their lower-priced machines, which is odd, given its usefulness and low fitting cost.
Despite the relatively low price, the Impact S305 still has wireless connection as well as a USB socket at the back. Wireless set-up is pretty straightforward and the machine supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 security. It comes with a good bundle of support software, including a copy of Abbyy Finereader OCR.
Cartridge installation is a doddle, with the four individual cartridges plugging into the semi-permanent head, once you're clipped it into place in the head carrier.
The machine is compatible with Windows, OSX and Linux, though as usual, you have to download Linux drivers from the support Web site.