Lexmark has come to the compact photo printer party with an innovative twist. While the company, like HP and Epson, is sticking with its own inkjet printing system rather than opting for thermal dye, it has built a notebook CD-R drive into the P450 so you can burn straight to disc.

Factor in versatile print options and the incredible 20p per page running costs, and you have a very economical model. It's a shame, then, that the print quality and speed aren't as good as the rest of the printer.

You get a lot for your £149 - this is a huge casing for a model that only prints up to photo-sized snapshots. There's no option to hook up to a PC, but you can hook up to the TV and any PictBridge-compatible hardware. On the front right of the P450 are two storage-card slots that offer support for nine formats and around the back, space for an optical Bluetooth hardware dongle.

The top of the P450 flips up to reveal a feature-rich LCD with print preview and photo enhancements such as red-eye removal. As Lexmark uses its own tri-colour photo cartridge, printing is only single-pass and the photo paper doesn't need to pass out of the back, so you can squeeze the P450 up against a wall.

Quality is no match for the thermal-dye competition - all images were suffused with a background hazy grain. We printed borderless 4x6 photo-size images using a PictBridge camera and it took a staggering three minutes to complete. Granted, the printer speeds up if you're working from a storage card, but it's not going to make the Olympic sprint team.

Lexmark P450: Specs

  • Thermal inkjet printer
  • 4,800x1,200dpi (optimised)
  • built-in CD-R drive
  • storage card support: CFI & II, SM, MS, MS Pro, SD, MMC, xD-Picture, Mini SD, MS Duo and MS Duo Pro (last three with adapter)
  • PictBridge
  • print speed=3 minutes
  • printing costs=20p per page
  • 1.5in LCD
  • £27.90 for 140 sheets and number-35 tri-colour photo-cartridge
  • 1-year warranty
  • 276x235x153mm
  • 3kg
  • Thermal inkjet printer
  • 4,800x1,200dpi (optimised)
  • built-in CD-R drive
  • storage card support: CFI & II, SM, MS, MS Pro, SD, MMC, xD-Picture, Mini SD, MS Duo and MS Duo Pro (last three with adapter)
  • PictBridge
  • print speed=3 minutes
  • printing costs=20p per page
  • 1.5in LCD
  • £27.90 for 140 sheets and number-35 tri-colour photo-cartridge
  • 1-year warranty
  • 276x235x153mm
  • 3kg

OUR VERDICT

The P450 is a great starter model that, with better print quality and speed, would have gained a Gold award. Unfortunately, decent print quality on a compact photo printer is a must-have.

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