The Lexmark Interact S605 colour inkjet multifunction printer avoids being just another £100 printer/scanner/copier by including a 4.3in colour LCD touchscreen for its control panel (think iPod touch or iPhone).

Unfortunately, that embellishment doesn't fully compensate for the Lexmark Interact S605's pricey inks and other shortcomings. Overall, the HP Officejet 6500 Wireless is a better deal in the same price range.

The Lexmark Interact S605's 4.3in touchscreen control panel is its standout feature. Not only does the touchscreen look great, but Lexmark did an excellent job with its icons and menu structure, making it intuitive, easy to navigate, and well thought out. The touchscreen also gives the machine a cleaner look than a raft of buttons would.

Automatic duplexing (two-sided printing) is the other big plus. But otherwise, the Lexmark Interact S605's features are unremarkable: There is no automatic document feeder, just a letter-size flatbed scanner.

The Lexmark Interact S605's rear, vertical input try holds a scant 100 sheets, and the front output area accommodates 25 sheets. Media slots support MS/MMC, SD, and xD card; there is a USB/PictBridge port as well.

Lexmark's adaptable setup routine walks novices through every step, but allows savvier users to skip through at a faster pace. The wireless installation we chose required a brief connection via USB. There is no ethernet. Lexmark installs exactly one shortcut - to the Lexmark Printer Home software, which covers scanning sufficiently but does not address any photo or creative features.

The Lexmark Interact S605 performed adequately in our tests. On the PC, plain-black text printed at a midrange rate of 6.4 pages per minute, but on the Mac, it managed a lacklustre 4.1ppm. On either platform, text was crisp and very black. Full-colour, 4-by-6-inch photos (printed on letter-size paper) averaged 1.9 ppm on the PC; on the Mac, a 7.5-by-9.9-inch, high-resolution color photo printed on letter-size paper in about 83 seconds (0.7ppm). Photos exhibited a slight greenish tint and high contrast that provided great detail in darker areas but made fleshtones look unnatural. Colour copies looked washed out.

The Lexmark Interact S605's standard-size '100' inks include a 170-page black cartridge and separate 200-page, cyan, magenta, and yellow colour cartridges. The high-yield '100XL' versions are a little more expensive than average. These high prices may be tolerable if you print fairly little, but they dampened our enthusiasm for this product.

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Lexmark Interact S605: Specs

  • Printer/copier/scanner
  • colour inkjet
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max): 5000 impressions
  • 4.3in touchscreen display
  • Max Printing Resolution: Up to 2400x1200 dpi (mono)/up to 4800x1200dpi (colour)
  • Supported Flash Memory, Memory Stick, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick PRO
  • 64MB RAM
  • Scan Element: CIS
  • Optical Resolution: 1200x2400dpi
  • Colour Depth (Internal): 48-bit
  • 514x358x178mm
  • 7.5kg
  • Printer/copier/scanner
  • colour inkjet
  • Monthly Duty Cycle (max): 5000 impressions
  • 4.3in touchscreen display
  • Max Printing Resolution: Up to 2400x1200 dpi (mono)/up to 4800x1200dpi (colour)
  • Supported Flash Memory, Memory Stick, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick PRO
  • 64MB RAM
  • Scan Element: CIS
  • Optical Resolution: 1200x2400dpi
  • Colour Depth (Internal): 48-bit
  • 514x358x178mm
  • 7.5kg

OUR VERDICT

The Lexmark Interact S605 has some nice features that could tempt someone buying for a small or home office. Unfortunately, its pricey inks make it unsuitable for all but the lightest-volume situations.

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