Printing duplex pages is held up by a long pause between the printing of each side of the page. This could be to allow for data transfer or for ink drying, but either way it slows double-sided printing so our 20-side test print took nearly six and a half minutes to complete, equivalent to 3spm (sides per minute).
The prints themselves are not bad. Black text is a little jagged round the edges and there’s evidence of some ink spatter, but for general correspondence, nobody is going to complain. Colour graphics are also well reproduced, with good solid colours and smooth gradations. A colour photocopy loses some of the original’s intensity and gains slight banding, but results are acceptable.
A copy taken from the flatbed glass has a positional offset to the right of around 7mm from one performed on the ADF. An original print sits halfway between the two.
Four-colour photo output from a PC, the memory card slots or a PictBridge connection, is rather over-egged. Striations and banding is apparent and although none of it is unpleasant in itself, colours are also over-vivid and you may have to tweak them to get them looking more natural.
There are two cartridges for the X9350; one black and the other tri-colour. There’s also an optional tri-colour photo cartridge if you want to print six-colour photos – probably a good option. The cheapest we could find the black cartridge for was just under £13, which gives a cost per page for black print of 3.1p. This is at the high end of the range for ink-jets, but not excessively expensive.
Colour print, where we saw 321, 20 per cent colour pages from the £15 cartridge, comes out at 29.6p, including Lexmark’s Premium Glossy Photo Paper. This is better than average and is due largely to the relatively low cost of the photo paper which, as usual with ink-jet photo prints, swamps the cost of the ink.
The X9350 has all the bells and whistles of a top-of-the-range multi-function: duplex print, wireless, network and USB connections, LCD display, fax and auto document feed. All this works well, but the fundamentals, like print speed and photo quality, are still not up with its rivals. If you can live with these shortcomings, the machine is a delight to use.