At a Glance
Lexmark X7170 All-In-One Printer w/ USB Cable (22 PPM, 4800x1200 DPI, Color, PC/Mac)
Low print and scan quality overall. Prints attractive glossy photos, but very slowly. Fast at printing text.
Lexmark clearly aims its $180 X7170 at small offices, with features like a 50-sheet automatic document feeder and the ability to fax in color. The control panel consists of a backlit two-line LCD and a set of speed-dial buttons for frequently used fax numbers. Unlike MFPs designed primarily for photographers, the X7170 lacks media slots, but it does have a PictBridge port on its front panel for printing directly from a compatible digital camera.
The main paper tray can hold 150 sheets of plain paper. A narrow feeder in the output tray lets you load 35 sheets of 4-by-6-inch photo paper or a short stack of envelopes, so you can easily switch to specialty printing tasks.
The X7170 ships with a color cartridge containing dye-based cyan, magenta, and yellow inks, along with a pigment-based black cartridge that's designed for printing text. You can replace the black cartridge with a photo cartridge that holds pigment-based light magenta, light cyan, and black inks.
Using six inks with the photo cartridge, the X7170 produced excellent photos--probably the best we've ever seen from a Lexmark inkjet. Colors, including skin tones, didn't look as saturated as in the output of some of its competitors, but details were very sharp. With its pigment black ink, the X7170 printed dark text, but characters appeared fuzzy, as if they were casting shadows. Very small fonts were unreadable, and closely spaced boldface letters suffered from major bleeding. Horizontal banding, which appeared where alternating swathes of the print head didn't line up, plagued all of our plain paper prints.
The X7170 printed text at 7.8 pages per minute, faster than any other model on the chart. However, the X7170 was abysmally slow at printing photos, taking 278 seconds to produce a 4-by-6-inch glossy--89 seconds longer than the next-slowest model.
The X7170's scanning and copying speeds were slightly below average. And though copies looked good, color scans appeared fuzzy and oversaturated, earning a score of Poor.
Lexmark provides a solid software bundle anchored by the Lexmark All-In-One Center. The scanning software lets you scan directly to PDF format. Also included are the Abbyy FineReader 5.0 Sprint OCR application and Lexmark Photo Editor. You can scan directly into PDF files.
The X7170 offers fast text print speeds, but scan and text print quality aren't up to the standards that many offices demand.