The Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901 colour inkjet multifunction printer (which handles printing, scanning, copying, and faxing) is priced on the high side, but it's packed with features that would satisfy a busy home or small office. Lexmark sweetens the deal with supercheap black ink and a five-year warranty.

Admirably, Lexmark has customised the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901's setup routine by skill level. If you want hand-holding, you can click through a long parade of dialog boxes that explain every minute detail, from plugging in the AC cord to inserting the cartridges. If you don't want the walkthrough, you can skip it. Wireless is a breeze, too: the onboard routine searches for and lets you join any available network in just a few steps. USB and ethernet connections are also available.

The Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901's standout feature is its 4.3-inch touchscreen control panel, which gives the machine a cleaner look than a raft of buttons would. Even better, the menu structure is intuitive, easy to navigate, and well thought out. Other features include a roomy, 50-page automatic document feeder atop the unit's letter-size flatbed scanner, and automatic duplexing (two-sided printing).

The Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901's under-mounted, 150-sheet front paper tray provides adequate capacity, though it feels flimsy when you remove or insert it. An optional second 150-sheet additional tray is available from Lexmark. Media slots accommodate SD, xD, MS/MMC, and USB/PictBridge media. Lexmark's bundled software is great for controlling the scanner and the printer, though it lacks some editing and creative amenities that more-consumer-oriented models offer.

Small and home offices print a lot of plain text, which is where the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901 shines. Its speed is nothing special: 6.3 pages per minute on the PC, and 3.9 ppm on the Mac - but text quality was unbelievably black and crisp. What's more, this model and its other high-priced cousins (the Lexmark Platinum Pro905 and the Lexmark Prestige Pro805) can use the 105XL high-yield black cartridge, which makes for great value printing. It's enough to make a monochrome laser printer nervous. Avoid the 100XL high-yield black, which also fits this MFP but is extremely expensive - as are the standard-size 100 cartridges.

colour quality and pricing are less impressive. On the PC, 4-by-6-inch photos printed at 1.8 ppm. On the Mac, a 7.5-by-9.9-inch, high-resolution photo took about 85 seconds to print; a 600-dpi scan of the same photo took just over a minute, while a 1200-dpi scan of a 4-by-6-inch photo took about 75 seconds. colour images had a fine-grained look - slightly foggy, but even. While fleshtones tended toward yellow and colours tended toward pink, they were believable. colour scans tended to be dark, but only colour copies truly disappointed us, with distracting crosshatch patterns. The 600-page 100XL C, M, Y cartridges produce middling-priced print. Lexmark's standard-size colour inks are incredibly overpriced and best avoided.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Group test: what's the best printer?

Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901: Specs

  • Thermal Inkjet, 4 Colour Inkjet - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black
  • CIS with 48 bit depth scanning
  • Colour Copying/Printing/Scanning/Faxing
  • Print Resolution, Black: Up to 2400x1200dpi, Colour: Up to 4800x1200dpi
  • Memory: 64MB
  • Fast Ethernet, USB 2.0, PictBridge port, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Sony Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Secure Digital (SD) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC), xD Card
  • 250x465x392mm
  • 9.27kg
  • Thermal Inkjet, 4 Colour Inkjet - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black
  • CIS with 48 bit depth scanning
  • Colour Copying/Printing/Scanning/Faxing
  • Print Resolution, Black: Up to 2400x1200dpi, Colour: Up to 4800x1200dpi
  • Memory: 64MB
  • Fast Ethernet, USB 2.0, PictBridge port, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Sony Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Secure Digital (SD) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC), xD Card
  • 250x465x392mm
  • 9.27kg

OUR VERDICT

The Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901 is a worthy contender for your small-office pounds. Though we consider the Canon Pixma MX870 a better overall package for a lower price, the Pinnacle Pro901 supplies the cheapest black ink and the longest warranty.

Find the best price