- Review Price: £367.99
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.
Results from the speed tests are interesting. As we noted with the Prevail Pro – the previous all-in-one from this range we’ve tested – speeds are reasonable, without being spectacular. The five-page text print from the Platinum Pro returned a speed of 4.05ppm and this increased to 6.38ppm on the 20-page test. The five-page text and graphics page printed at 2.94ppm.
Since they all use the same print engine, you would think the test results from this machine would be nearly identical to those from the other machines in the Home and Pro series. In fact, although the differences between the Platinum Pro and the Prevail Pro are small, some are significant.
Duplex print for example, was noticeably quicker on this machine, with the 20-side, 10-page document printing in 5:12, where it took 5:32 on the Prevail Pro. However, a single page, colour copy from the flatbed took 47s on this machine, but just 32s on the cheaper model. A five page mono copy from the ADF also finished in the Prevail Pro’s favour, taking 1:17, while it took 10s longer on the Platinum Pro.
As far as print quality goes, the new Vizix engine offers improvements on both plain and photo paper, compared with the previous generation of Lexmark inkjets. Black text is generally clean, though there’s a little feathering of text into the paper nap, which can produce a slightly fuzzy look.
Colours for business graphics are bright and very smooth and colour copies are unusually close to originals in colour. Photo prints are much closer to the best Canon, Epson and HP can offer, where they used to trail considerably. Overall, the print quality is more than adequate.
As a member of the Professional range of all-in-ones, the Platinum Pro905 can use the 105XL black cartridge. This is, to all intents and purposes, the same as the 100XL cartridge, but is available for under £4. We found one for £3.12 inc VAT and, with a page yield of 510 pages, this gives a cost per ISO black page of 1.42p. The colour cost works out at 7.13p, both including 0.7p for paper.
The black cost in particular is very good for an inkjet and is down to the cost of several laser printers in the £300-£400 bracket. The 105XL cartridge is rigged not to work in the Home series of all-in-ones, so the low costs are only available to those buying the more expensive Professional series machines.
Whichever way you look at it, £370 is a lot to pay for an inkjet all-in-one. While the Platinum Pro905 is a capable machine, with useful extras like duplex print and copy, wireless connection, dual trays, fax and the touchscreen control panel, you can get something like the Canon PIXMA MX860 with all these features bar the touchscreen, for around half the price. If print and copy are your main requirements, you can get equivalent speed and quality from cheaper Lexmark all-in-ones, too.
Score in detail
Print Speed 8
Print Quality 8
|Networking||Fast Ethernet, Wi-Fi|
|Card slot||Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Secure Digital, MMC, xD-Picture Card, xD-Picture Card Type H, xD-Picture Card Type M|
|Paper Size||Envelope No. 10, Envelope No. 7 3/4, Envelope No. 9, A4, A5, B5 Envelope, C5 Envelope, DL Envelope, Envelope No. 6 3/4, A2 Baronial, A6 Card, B5, C6 Envelope, Custom Size - 8.50" x 17", Index Card, Executive, Letter, Legal, L, 2L, Chou 3 Envelope, Chou 4 Envelope, Chou 40 Envelope, Kakugata 3, Kakugata 4, Kakugata 5, Kakugata 6, 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 5.12" x 7.09", 3.94" x 5.91", 3.94" x 7.87", 4" x 8", 3.50" x 5", Hagaki Card, 216 mm x 432 mm, 127 mm x 178 mm, 89 mm x 127 mm, 100 mm x 150 mm, 130 mm x 180 mm, 100 mm x 200 mm, 102 mm x 203 mm, Custom Size|
|Sheet Capacity||300 sheets|
|Rated Black Speed (Images per minute)||33 ppmipm|
|Rated Colour Speed (Images per minute)||30 ppmipm|
|Scan Resolution (Dots per inch)||1200 dpi, 1200 x 4800dpi|