Lexmark Interpret S405 review
Lexmark's Intepret S405 is an ugly, grey boxy-looking MFP, but it has plenty of features considering the low price. It can connect via both Wi-Fi and USB, has a memory card reader and there's a PictBridge port for scanning to and printing from a USB flash drive. The MFP uses individual ink cartridges and a replaceable print head, although the lack of integrated print heads doesn't seem to have done much to keep down the cost of ink.
While many recent MFPs have glossy touchscreens, the S405 keeps it simple with a two-line LCD screen and a very traditional bank of buttons. It has plenty, as the S405 has full fax capabilities as well as the copying, scanning and printing we're more used to seeing from home MFPs. In keeping with its fax capabilities, there's also an ADF that can handle up to 25 pages of 75gsm A4, which is great if you want to copy or scan multipage documents. Unfortunately, the printer has only one paper tray, which has a maximum capacity of 100 A4 pages and is prone to jams if you over-load it.
Print quality is generally good - we were pleased with the sharpness of our mono text prints which, at standard quality, emerged at an impressive rate of 9.4ppm. Draft printing is an even faster 15.2ppm, but it's pale, grey and slightly rough-looking. Colour documents emerged at a reasonably quick 2.5ppm. We noticed a little banding in solidly coloured areas, but there were few other flaws. The lettering on small font sizes also looked a little thin, but was sharp and clearly legible. We were very happy with the reproduction of shaded graphs, charts and illustrations, too. Unfortunately, print costs are above average: 3.3p per mono page is just about acceptable, but colour documents are unusually expensive at 9.5p per page.
Lexmark has never been renowned for the quality of its photos and, with a full set of pigment-based ink, it's obvious that photographic reproduction isn't this MFP's top priority. However, quality on Lexmark's PerfectFinish glossy paper is easily good enough for family snaps thanks to pleasingly bright, vivid colours. They can look a little unnatural and some subtle shading and contrast can be lost, but the overall effect is pleasing. A 6x4in photo prints in a little over half a minute and costs 27p, including photo paper.
The 2,400x1,200dpi scanner isn't the best we've ever encountered - scans look at little cold and some low-contrast detail is lost, but we were happy with their clarity. The scanner interface, although very basic, is simple to use, with just a couple of options. We’d have liked it to retain previews between scans, though. Copy quality is also fine - mono copies emerge in less than 30 seconds and are sharp, albeit slightly banded. Colour copies were vivid and clear.
The Interpret S405 does everything it's designed to reasonably quickly and capably, and covers more than the basics thanks to its ADF and fax. Lexmark's three-year warranty (when you register) is also inviting. However, very high colour print costs keep the S405 from netting our Budget Buy award. The HP Deskjet 3050A is a better bet, unless you really need a fax or ADF.
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