Lexmark X4550 Multifunction - Review and Cartridge Choice

By: Alan Wilson

The Lexmark X4550 isn't the cheapest printing device to offer Wi-Fi capabilities (that accolade goes to the juicily priced ?60 Lexmark Z1420 inkjet), but it still weighs in at a sub-?80 price that, particularly in light of its scanning capabilities, ought to grab your attention.

Manufacturers are always searching for the next big feature or trend that looks like sweeping across the industry. In the case of printer and multi-function device manufacturer Lexmark, it reckons wireless connections look set to saturate homes and offices across the nation.

Cartridges supplied with the machine are the #23 black and the #24 colour cartridge, these are low capacity cartridges and should be replaced with high yield cartridges #34 and #35 when they run out. This should improve the running costs to about 5.8 pence per page.

These cartridges have been used in previous Lexmark models and along with the optional photo cartridge #31 are readily available from Lexmark, many high street retailers or from an online discounter like Cartcon.

Wi-Fi aside, the Lexmark X4550 is a solid if slightly uninspirational All-In-One multifunction device.

The Lexmark X4550's maximum printer resolution of 4,800x1,200 is typical of sub-?100 All-In-Ones, although even at its highest quality mode, it never achieves some of the same heights of excellence as some models costing considerably less.

We were never able to get pin-sharp text out of the Lexmark X4550, and even at the highest level, the characters are slightly poorly formed. Performance was reasonably good though, with the middle quality mode running out at a handsome 8.6ppm (pages per minute). On graphics, the Lexmark quickly dropped to sluggish performance levels once past the (actually quite decent) fastest mode. Quality was acceptable, but we weren't totally enthused by the results.

Setting up Wi-Fi with the Lexmark X4550 is very simple, thanks to the comprehensive (but still reasonably swift) installation routine. The Lexmark even has coloured lights to tell you whether it's connected and, if not, whether there's a convenient network within range. In fact, setting up the Lexmark X4550 is, overall, a breeze.

The Lexmark X4550 also works adequately as a scanner, offering very solid (if, again, not stunning) results.

Notebook users shouldn't underestimate the ease of being able to print from anywhere in the house without the hassle of wires. Running off a couple of prints from the sofa is remarkably liberating, and we can only hope other manufacturers follow suit in due course. Lexmark's X4550 is not meant to be everything to everybody, but it deserves much credit for providing wireless at such a cheap price.

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