Lexmark X73 All-In-One Print Center

Lexmark X73 All-In-One Print Center
Company: Lexmark
Price: $149.99

A few months back, I did a review of another Lexmark printer, the Z53 Colorjet Printer. While I thought it was a decent printer, I was really looking forward to reviewing this unit, the X73.

The X73 is an All-In-One print center, meaning it is a copier, printer, and scanner in one convenient enclosure. It is an attractive looking piece of hardware. It looks like a flatbed scanner sitting atop a printer. Which is what this really is, a scanner on top of a printer.

The X73, print-wise, is about the same as the Z53 in output capabilities. It prints reasonably fast, and has excellent image reproduction for a home ink-jet printer. The cost of the ink is high, however, costing around $30-$40 for black and color cartridges apiece. That is quite a bit more than a Epson Stylus printer, but I would expect the price to drop someday as these printers become more and more popular. And the price point most Lexmark printers sell for, and for the quality of the prints, I expect them to become pretty popular indeed.

Maximum Resolution is 2400 x 1200 dpi, and boasts up to 5 pages per minute print time. Pretty standard specs for a home ink-jet printer on today’s market. In real world tests, the printer lived up to those numbers, though ppm times were varied.

The scanner itself, which sits atop the unit, is small. Smaller than a regular scanner. It is slightly larger than a letter-sized paper; so don’t expect to scan any 11X17 documents with the X73.

The scanner works great, though you are forced to use the Lexmark scanner software to use it. Unlike a conventional scanner, which usually works in conjunction with a program like Adobe Photoshop, the X73 relies upon the Lexmark Scan and Copy Control Program. This does work. You can scan up to 9600 DPI, a resolution most average users will never need. The software will let you scan and copy, with myriad options for each. You can scan to an application, meaning once you scan, it will open your scanned document in that program. You can also select a destination for your scan, sending it directly to an email program, a fax, the clipboard, or a file. I always scan to a file, so that I have the ability to manipulate the scan before sending it off to its destination.

You can control many of the Print Centers features from the machine itself, including copy (in color or black and white), scan, scan-to either email or fax, and of course paper feed and power. The scan-to feature relies on your setup of the software beforehand.

While the unit is both attractive with a low-cost and sports good print output, the unit is not really a copier in the true sense of the word. It is a software-based copier, meaning you cannot use the X73 as a stand-alone copy machine. Your Mac (or PC) must be on to use the copier function. I also noticed that when you do use the unit as a copier, it is very slow.

To test the speed, I pitted the X73 against a three-year-old UMAX Astra 610s scanner, and printing to the X73 itself. I copied one black and white full-page letter with no graphics. Keep in mind that the UMAX is connected via SCSI, while the X73 is connected via the slower USB port.

To copy and send the one page text-only document back to the printer, the X73 took almost three minutes, while the UMAX did it (using Adobe Photoshop’s import capabilities and MagicScan) did it in less than a minute and a half. Output from the UMAX scan was noticeably better as well.

For the price and performance, the X73 is a decent buy. You do get a scanner and a printer for less than $150 US, with one-touch copy thrown in. The unit feels well built, and with the ever-increasing popularity of the Lexmark brand (I have even seen them at WalMart) finding buying ink for it should be no problem.

MacMice Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tim Robertson

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