In addition to its simplicty of form, the Lexmark X6650 also appeals to our sense of thrift, since its $130 price buys a copier, scanner, and fax as well as a printer, plus 802.11b/g Wi-Fi for wireless printing on a home network. Or a small office network, of course, although since Lexmark has sorted its inkjets into two groups the X6650 is officially part of the company's Home and Student Series. Its twin in the Small Office Pro series is called the X6675 and comes with a longer warranty and larger starter ink cartridges for $20 more.
The X6650 offers other checklist items for multifunction printer shoppers. There's a 25-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) on top, so multipage copying or faxing jobs avoid the chore of opening and closing the scanner lid to place one page at a time. A PictBridge USB port and two slots on the front panel for media cards (SD, MS, xD, MMC, and CF) allow printing images directly from USB flash drives or digital cameras' memory cards.
|The Lexmark X6650 Wireless 4-in-1 Inkjet Printer|
On the other hand, the Lexmark's low price dictates some sacrifices. Wired (as opposed to Wi-Fi) connectivity is limited to USB 2.0, with no Ethernet port for small-office sharing. There's no duplexer for automatic double-sided printing. The control-panel LCD is a two-line mini screen, not a color display for photo viewing and editing.
And instead of higher-end inkjets' half-dozen or so color ink cartridges, which give you both better photo output and the cost-effective option to replace just one color when it runs dry, the Lexmark sticks with the familiar two-cartridge, four-color setup -- black and tricolor ink cartridges, the latter holding cyan, magenta and yellow. You can, however, swap the black cartridge for a tricolor photo cartridge ($32) to switch from four- to six-color output.
Finally, you probably don't expect $130 to buy you blazing speed and stunning output quality, and you're not far wrong. The X6650's output is adequate, but nothing more.
A Little Wobbly
With paper trays extended, the unit measures roughly 13- by 18- by 20-inches. It's relatively quiet in operation -- a bit too loud to share your desk with your phone, but fine on an adjacent table within reach of your swivel chair.
While the 17-pound printer seems solid and sturdy when removed from its packaging, the scanner lid feels flimsy, wobbling from side to side and requiring some care to prop open without flopping down onto your fingers. The loose feeling comes from a pair of hinges that help lift the lid to scan pages of books, which is a nice feature but could have been better executed.
It takes just a minute to insert and snap the two ink cartridges into place, after which the Lexmark asks you to load plain paper to print an alignment page. Software installation is more time-consuming, spanning not only the printer driver but a handy control-panel package that lets you browse documents and pictures, select items for printing, and format them in various ways, with both automatic (one-click fix, red-eye removal) and manual (crop, exposure, hue/saturation) touch-up for photos and the option to launch a document for last-minute editing within your word processor or other application. The ABBYY FineReader Sprint 6.0 optical character recognition package is included as well.