Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901 review
Rammed with office features, but speed and quality just aren't good enough at this price
Review Date: 4 Aug 2010
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £250 (£294 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Lexmark's home all-in-one range is exceedingly simple. The print engine is the same throughout, with each model up the range adding another feature or two to increase the value - you just stop when you reach the device that does everything you need. Its professional devices line up in much the same way, and the new Pinnacle Pro901 fills a gap between the top two models in the range.
It handles scanning, copying and fax functions, and has a 150-sheet input tray that pulls out from the base. The feature it loses over the top-end Platinum Pro905 is simply its second paper tray; other than that it shares all the same characteristics, making it a slightly cheaper way to get Lexmark's flagship inkjet product. It uses the same superb 4.3in touchscreen interface as all Lexmark's premium models, and this links in to the Smart Solutions app-style method of adding pre-programmed widgets for common tasks.
We covered this before, when we first saw the Interact S605, and it's just as useful a tool to have now, arguably more so in a busier office environment. The Pro901 can connect over 802.11n wireless, Ethernet or USB and, if you use it on a network, you can push your widgets out automatically to multiple Lexmark devices. There's a configurable Eco-mode button always on the home screen that can be set to always print in draft and duplex mode, and we like the print progress animation that fills the touchscreen so you're in no doubt how many pages remain.
However, interface aside, the Pro901 proved disappointing compared to others we've tested. We can't verify whether it affects the whole Professional line or just this new model, but we found the Pro901 to be slower than the home S605, despite using identical inks. It isn't a huge difference, but it happened across the print tests - down from 9.4ppm to 8.5ppm in mono and 4.5ppm to 4ppm in colour, and up from 30 seconds to 50 seconds for a 6 x 4in best-quality photo.
We'd hoped this might be due to a focus on quality over speed, but putting the prints side-by-side showed no real improvement. Text was almost identical, and areas of solid colour from both showed slight grain. The Pro901 produced a slightly lighter tone in photos than the S605, but no finer detail or sharper edges. It's a matter of personal taste as to which is superior.
With the scanner proving similar to the S605 in both its speed and the quality of its capture - accurate colours, but a little fuzzy on the detail and sharpness - the Pro901 sits firmly in the middle order of all-in-ones. It won't come close to the print quality of the best Canons and, despite the XL cartridges, you're looking at an expensive 9.7p per A4 colour page.
The fantastic interface does make up for a lot of these weaknesses, but as it stands, it's difficult to see how the features on offer from the Pro901 justify a quite staggering £250 exc VAT price (although if you buy before 30 September 2010, you can claim £150 cashback). We're fans of Lexmark's recent home devices, but this office alternative leaves us cold.
Author: David Bayon
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