Reviewing printers have become second nature to me these last five years or so. There are some things I always look for, such as ease of use in set-up, how well the printer works with my Mac, and all the new features the manufacturer uses to sell their product.
In the PrinTrio Photo, Lexmark has really taken their standard all-in-one printer and added a photo card reader. Is this a compelling enough reason for you to buy the unit? When I was first sent the PrinTrio, I was under the impression that you could print photos directly from the memory card readers, but this is not the case. Rather, all the memory card reader does is act as a memory card reader for your computer. If you inset your digital camera memory card containing pictures, all that will happen is either iPhoto will launch, or the card will show up on your desktop.
The PrinTrio Photo is a multi-function printer, copier, scanner, fax, and media card reader. That is a lot to bundle in one unit, but Lexmark pulls it off nicely. While the design of the PrinTrio Photo is just about the same as the X5150, it is a little sleeker, but the overall design is the same. Nothing wrong with that, though I was hoping that Lexmark would have overhauled the overall staleness of this design by now, which they have been using for at least three years for all their all-on-one models.
Scanning has not changes a bit from the X5150, using the same flatbed technology, as well as the same software. While the Lexmark software is intuitive and easy to use, like the design of the unit itself, it is starting to feel dated. You can either scan by pushing a button on the PrinTrio Photo itself, or control all the scanning via the Lexmark software.
You can copy without any interaction from the computer, however, via the one-touch button on the top of the unit.
Faxing, however, requires a computer. In fact, the PrinTrio Photo cannot fax anything on its own, and faxes using software. The PrinTrio Photo will actually scan and fax, meaning you would do just as well to scan in a document and fax it manually using your fax program of choice.
Printing is rather at 19 PPM, but I found this claim to be grossly exaggerated. The PrinTrio Photo in both color and black to be one of the slowest printers I have used in a few years. Next to recent HP models I have reviewed and used, as well as a few printers I have access to, the PrinTrio Photo was way too slow to rely on in a SOHO environments.
Print quality, however, was very good. Using a six-color proto print system, printing to high-gloss photo printer paper, results were fantastic. I should note, however, that the print times for a full-page 8.5×11 print, borderless, took forever long to print, and drying times were twice that of the HP recently reviewed.
The on-board camera card reader support six different card types, including CompactFlash I and II, SD (Secure Media), Memory Stick, and MMC (MultiMediaCard). As stated above, the card reader (there are four slots located on the front of the PrinTrio Photo) only acts as a reader, with no interaction with any print capability. Card access is via the USB connection to your computer, at USB 1.1 speeds.
Thermal Inkjet technology
Up to 4800 x1200 DPI on photo paper
Up to 2400 x 1200 dpi on plain paper
Input capacity: 100 sheets
Output capacity: 25 sheets.
Letter, legal, A4, A5, A6, B5, executive, index, Banner, postcard & multiple envelope sizes (8.5” x 17” maximum area)
Black – up to 13.5 copies per minute (cpm) using black and color cartridges; Color – up to 7 cpm using black and color cartridges
Zoom range: 25 – 400% (reduce and enlarge)
Copy quantity: 1– 99 copies at a time
Multiple images: choice of the number of images per page in PC-attached mode
One-touch PC enabled photo reprinting: Create photo reprints at the touch of one button via the host PC
Optical scan resolution: up to 600 x 1200 ppi; up to 9,600 ppi enhanced
Scan depth: Black – 16 bit; Color – 48 bit
CIS flatbed technology
Effective scan area – 8.5” x 11.7”
Supported System; Mac OS 10.1.5 and up, Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP.
Do you need a printer with a built-in media reader? Using a media reader to transfer photos from a media card will save wear and tear on your camera, and prevent your batteries from going dead as quickly. This is a good thing. And if you have multiple media cards you need to read, this would be a good investment only if you are looking to spend as little money as possible to get a decent printer / copier / scanner. If you already have a scanner and printer, but want a media reader, you should look at a SanDisk unit. If you need a printer that can print directly from your digital camera, or at least the media card, take a look at the more costly, but much more feature rich, HP PhotoSmart PSC 2510 All-in-One. (SRP: $399.99)
At a price of $99.99, this is a decent printer. While nothing has jumped out at me with the PrinTrio Photo, I would recommend this unit only to those on a budget with multiple media card requirements. Otherwise, I would recommend spending the $199 for the HP OfficeJet 2510, which does everything the PrinTrio Photo does and more, but does not have a built-in media card reader. Yes, the HP cost twice as much, but it is twice the printer.