Top critical review
55 people found this helpful
Just not very good
on 22 May 2010
I bought this printer after reading various positive reviews, including the ones here. I wanted a printer that would be reasonably good at printing photos and which I could print to from computers running both Windows and Linux. It came down to a choice between this and a similarly priced model from HP. I wish I'd chosen the HP one, having had five years of good service from our previous HP printer. However, I chose this printer because, as well as the features I've already mentioned, it had individual colour cartridges and offered double-sided printing. It should be less wasteful to run. So, what's wrong with it?
First, let's be clear, text documents print well, fast and sharp - but surely that's the bare minimum to be expected from a printer. Photo printing is very poor: the prints are much darker than they appear on screen, so a lot of colour and detail is lost in darker areas of pictures. Otherwise, it over-saturates the colours: a pastel pink will appear as Barbie pink. I've printed from different computers and it's the same from all of them: it's not that I've used an unusually bright screen. What's worse, if you're using Windows, there's no way to lighten the prints: the options just don't provide any way to adjust the brightness and colour. The Lexmark software for Windows just doesn't give any scope for these adjustments - which is funny, because the Linux drivers do! So, if you use Linux you can roughly calibrate the printer for much better results. However, before Linux users get smug, if you're using Linux there's no double-sided printing. On Windows there is.
The double-sided printing might not be what you expect, though: you have to turn the paper around by hand to print on the second side, although it works so that it will print all of the odd-numbered pages first, then you turn the whole lot around (and upside down) and press OK to print all of the even numbers. If the document only has two pages, and you want to print on two sides of just one sheet of paper, you're out of luck because after printing the odd-numbered pages (just page 1 in this case), the printer prints an extra page with an arrow and instructions telling the user to put the printed page back in the printer the other way around and upside down. So two pieces of paper will be used anyway: you might as well just print one-sided.
Oh well! Isn't it handy that it's wireless? For text documents, it is - though, obviously, having to manually turn the paper around for two-sided printing removes the advantage of being able to print from a distance. But I've tried printing A4-sized photos wirelessly, and it's so, so slow to print: it takes around 12 minutes (Yes, 12 minutes - that's not a mistake) to print a single photo to A4 size over the wireless connection. Over the USB lead it's much quicker: about one minute. This isn't because our wireless network is slow: I could upload the same photo (from a 10MP DSLR) to Flickr many times over in the time it takes the printer to produce it's horrible darkened version of the photo.
I tried updating the firmware, and nothing improved. So, would I recommend this printer? No! No! No!