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Lexmark P6250

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At a Glance
  • Lexmark P6250 All-In-One Printer (22 PPM, 4800x1200 DPI, Color, PC/Mac)

Lexmark P6250
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The $170 Lexmark P6250 is generous with its photo features, but it demands some tradeoffs in performance. The P6250 is easy to use, thanks in part to a bright, 2.5-inch color LCD, which aids in menu navigation and image editing. Two media card slots, which sit behind a clear fold-down door, can read all major formats. A PictBridge port allows you to print directly from a compatible digital camera.

In the box, you get a tricolor cartridge containing dye-based inks and a photo cartridge containing pigment-based light cyan, light magenta, and black inks. On glossy paper, the P6250's six inks produced beautiful, sharp photo prints. Some of the colors, including skin tones, looked a bit artificial, though color transitions were smooth and shadows exhibited good detail. Photo printing was slow: The P6250 took 3 minutes 9 seconds to print our test photo, whereas the average speed of the nine MFPs we tested for the June 2005 chart was 2 minutes 7 seconds.

Text printing, on the other hand, was very fast, at 7.4 pages per minute; and color graphics emerged at 1.6 ppm (just below the average). To reduce ink consumption when printing office documents, you'll want to swap the photo cartridge for a high-capacity pigment-based black cartridge. Unfortunately, print quality on plain paper was disappointing. Text looked dark, but edges appeared jagged; we saw a lot of narrow horizontal banding; and italics appeared to cast a shadow. Our line-art print exhibited bizarre wavelike patterns in the narrow horizontal lines, and a magnifying glass revealed that the lines--which were supposed to have the same width everywhere--varied in thickness across the page.

Scanning quality and copying quality were reasonably good, though nothing special. The P6250's scan speed was below average, but the unit took just 17 seconds (6 seconds less than the average) to copy a letter-size document.

The economically priced Lexmark P6250 prints high-quality photos and outputs text quickly; but its print quality and performance are middle-of-the-pack otherwise, and the model lacks speed and sophistication.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • Prints text quickly, though it's slow at printing photos. Makes copies at above-average speed.

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