Printers may not top the typical computer user’s hot technologies list, but for businesses they’re an essential asset for communicating both internally and with clients and customers. The multifunction variety satisfies businesses’ need to print, copy and scan documents. Some even still fax, believe it or not! The product category includes consumer devices that sell for less than £100, but these types of devices just don’t cut it in a workload-heavy business environment. An office-grade device, like the Lexmark Platinum Pro 905, is designed to churn out various print volumes in colour all day long. But does it do it well? Let’s find out.
The Lexmark Platinum Pro 905 (307 x 465 x 392mm, 11.64kg) sits at the top of Lexmark’s business inkjet range. It has actually been on sale for just over a year, but there’s no replacement in the wings and Lexmark still feels the product is more than up to the task―which is why it sent us one to review. Similar to other business-grade multifunction devices, the Platinum Pro 905 is a touch pricier than consumer products, but is still an affordable £149.99 at PC World―particularly enticing as it comes with built-in wireless printing (802.11b/g/n).
The printer is beautifully packaged and includes a wide range of supporting materials to get your started. What’s particularly striking about the Platinum Pro 905 is its 4.3-inch Web-enabled touchscreen, which makes controlling the range of features really simple. The display is big, bright and colourful, and the menu system is intuitively navigated by a firm touch of the finger.
Web capabilities, or what Lexmark calls “SmartSolutions”, allows you to configure a button on the display for walk-up, one-touch execution of a sequence of actions (such as saving scanned PDFs to a specific location on a server). There is also the ability to view an RSS feed, as well as to view and print from a Google calendar.
Sure the lack of physical controls slows down the operating process, but the overall experience is leaps and bounds ahead of most other printers and shouldn’t pose a problem to even the most ardent technophobe. Annoyingly, however, the display is fixed and can’t be pushed flush to protect it after hours.
The two 150-sheet stacked input trays are easy enough to load, but only the top tray can fit snapshot-size photo paper. The bottom one is even removable, should you really be tight on space. You also get a 50-page automatic document feeder and an automatic duplexer. Similar to many multifunction printers, the 50-sheet output tray is flimsy and slides out precariously from the cover of the top input tray.
Printing, copying, scanning or sending a fax (either on the device or via your PC using the supplied software) is a snap. Even setting up a wireless connection―a notoriously irksome procedure on a printer―is done in a matter of seconds. The memory card slot (supports Memory Stick/PRO, SDHC, MMC, xD Card) and PictBridge port make printing directly from a digital camera stress-free, and there’s Fast Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports for individuals not wanting to connect to a network.
Printouts from the 4-colour (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) Platinum Pro 905 aren’t the sharpest we’ve seen, especially on regular plain paper, and the time it takes printouts to dry is also slow compared to Epson’s Stylus Office BX925FWD. Scan quality from the CIS flatbed scanner can’t compete with Epson’s offering either, but the Platinum Pro 905 does compete in terms of speed.
Other things not to like about the Platinum Pro 905 are that it takes quite a long time to initialise itself and it’s also relatively noisy when printing. Some users won’t appreciate the limited adjustment on the ADF paper guide, either, allowing for A4 and Letter size only.
The Lexmark Platinum Pro 905 would make a good addition to any modern office, and its high-speed 802.11n wireless makes it easy to integrate with Wi-Fi networks. It’s a good all-round printer with some excellent features―such as the SmartSolutions capabilities―but its print and scan quality can be bettered.