- Review Price: £184.01
Lexmark’s recent launch of new all-in-one machines is divided into two groups, Home Office and Professional. Judging by its name, the Home Office series is designed for the SOHO market, but in our opinion the Professional series is better tuned to this kind of use and benefits from an extended, five-year replacement guarantee and higher capacity, XL cartridges as standard. Both groups of machines still use the same inkjet print engine, though, so you need to check out the extra features in this series and weigh them up against the higher price.
Lexmark has done a good job in styling the Prevail Pro 705. Although not that different from the previous range, its clean lines, with large radius curves much in evidence and sparing use of high gloss black, makes it look purposeful.
Its completely horizontal Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is neat and efficient and the flatbed scanner under the lid has a 4800 x 1200ppi CIS scanner head, which is an unusually high resolution for a business all-in-one.
The control panel includes a 61mm, full-colour LCD display, as well as a large navigation button square, a full number pad for fax numbers and an interesting button marked Eco Mode. The first time you press this, it switches all output from the machine to duplex, while the second time it introduces a lighter, ink-saving print mode.
Up to 150 sheets of paper can be fed from the front paper tray, which is a better solution than the near-vertical rear trays in the Home Office series of machines. A pull-out paper support directly above the tray handles printed pages as they leave the machine.
The same card slots and dual-purpose USB socket as in the Interpret, tested last week, handle printing from SD, MemoryStick and xD cards, as well as USB drives and PictBridge cameras. At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet, as well as for phone line and telephone handset.
Installing this machine for wireless is a pain. It supports WPS, but if your router only supports WPA – and a lot of well known ones, like BT’s Home Hub 2, don’t support WPS – it won’t connect automatically. This means you have to use a temporary USB cable, but then, during installation, the software does an update check and tries to download a software update.
As with the Interpret, this download failed with a corrupt file after spending 15 minutes or so downloading. This is long enough for the Prevail to suspend itself and when the install software looks for the printer to set up wireless via USB, the printer doesn’t kick start itself. Unless you wake it up from the control panel, the software sits there waiting forever. Lexmark really needs to sort things out – wireless installation should be a lot easier than this.
With the same print engine as in the Interpret S405, you would expect very similar performance, and you’d be right. The same speeds of 16ppm and 10ppm for black and colour prints in normal print mode are just as unrealistic and we saw 3.9ppm rising to 6.78ppm on a 20-page, black text document.
The five-page black text and colour graphics test took 1:21, giving a speed of 3.7ppm. Compared with rival machines, these speeds are not bad and the machine is subjectively quite speedy when printing text pages. Not so, though, when printing duplex, as it has to wait six or seven seconds for ink drying between the front and reverse sides of each page. It printed a 20-side, 10-page document at an average speed of 3.61 sides per minute.
As with the Interpret, the copy interleaving on the Prevail is poor. While it does start printing each page before it has finished scanning the original, it doesn’t start scanning the second and subsequent pages before the one before has finished printing. This is the main reason it took two minutes to copy a five-page document, which is slow.
The print quality, from Lexmark’s new Vizix ink system, using separate cartridges for each colour and a directly etched, permanent head with a wider swathe, is an improvement on previous Lexmark offerings. Black text is clean and better formed than before and is getting closer to Canon and HP output.
Colour graphics are also reasonable and registration of black text over colour is good, though with some slight fuzzing of text characters. Colour copies still come through lighter than originals, in some places light enough to show the paper fibres through the print. Photo prints are improved, with better shadow detail and generally natural colours, which are more than satisfactory for day-to-day use.
The cost of cartridges is exactly the same as for the Interpret, giving print costs of 4.7p for an ISO black page and 11.83p for an ISO colour page, both including 0.7p for paper. As before, these costs look expensive in comparison with equivalent consumables from Canon and HP, but things may improve as more dealers start to discount – these are still very new machines.
For your extra money, compared with the Interpret, you get an extended warranty, high-capacity cartridges as standard, a full-colour LCD, a slow but useful duplex mode and more convenient paper handling. Print quality and running costs are no different from the cheaper series, but the Prevail Pro705 is still a reasonable all-in-one for SOHO office work.
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, Legal, Letter, 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", Custom Size - 216 mm x 432 mm, 102 mm x 152 mm, 127 mm x 178 mm, 130 mm x 180 mm, 100 mm x 150 mm, 100 mm x 200 mm, 102 mm x 203 mm, 89 mm x 127 mm|
|Sheet Capacity||150 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|