While all printer makers have made moves to rationalise the number of different print engines they have in their machines, Lexmark has gone further than most by using exactly the same engine in all seven of its new Home and Professional series of all-in-ones. This has the advantage of manufacturing cheapness for the company and an assurance of consistent speed and print quality for the customer.
The only thing separating the different models now is the feature set of each printer and that’s where Lexmark has to play it carefully. The Platinum Pro905 is the top of the range and sits above the Prestige Pro805, but how much extra does it offer to satisfy the £100 difference in their SRPs?
Two things separate the two models: fax facilities and an extra paper tray. The printer itself is very similar to the Prestige Pro and like that machine has a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) over the scanner. The Platinum Pro can produce double-sided copies, but only by feeding the originals through twice and scanning to the machine’s memory; the scanner head is single-sided and there’s no duplex feed.
The control panel uses Lexmark’s wide-aspect touch-screen, which has enough room for large, easy-to-distinguish icons. Core functions, like returning to the home page, calling help and starting and stopping jobs are allocated to fixed touch buttons, which only illuminate when their functions are available.
The main screen covers copying, scanning, photo print and fax and settings screens are well laid out and particularly easy to work your way around. While there’s no support for gesture control, so you can’t swipe the screen to flick through icons, touch buttons and icons are large enough to locate without problem.
There are card readers for SD, MemoryStick and xD, but not CompactFlash. The PictBridge socket doubles as a USB drive reader and the printer’s firmware is smart enough to search out all the image files on a drive.
Having a second paper tray is always useful, as you can load, say, headed and plain paper at the same time or use one tray for 15 x 10cm photo sheets and the other for A4. Each tray only takes 150 sheets, though, which doesn’t seem a lot for a machine which, by its price, is squarely aimed at the upper end of the SOHO market.
Lexmark bundles Finereader Sprint OCR and its own document handling software with the Platinum Pro905 and there are drivers on the software CD for Windows, from 2000 onwards, and OS X. Drivers for various incarnations of Linux are available through download.