It's been a busy few weeks for the printer manufacturers, with new models released almost every day it seems and Lexmark are no exception. Eight new models are now available, four in the Home Office series; the Interact, Intuition, Interpret and Impact, with four Professional series printers named Platinum, Prestige, Prevail and Prospect.
In our article entitled Lex Announces Range of Web Printers we asked whether there was a market for web connected printers and were left wondering what else the new machines could offer in the way of quality, value for money and so on. How do they compare with the likes of Canon, Kodak and HP, for example?
Prices start from just over £91 plus VAT for the Impact, pitting against the likes of the Canon MX700, which has a fax, LCD screen and automatic document feeder but no Wi-fi. At the top of the range, the Platinum model carries a hefty £316 price tag, which is a lot of money for an inkjet printer, however good it may be. For just an extra £30, customers can buy the excellent value and cheap-to-run Ricoh SP C232SF laser multifunction and it's difficult to see why they wouldn't.
Most customers will probably be looking at the mid-range models and there's plenty of competition in this area; the Intuition, for example, is very close to the Kodak ESP7 in terms of price and specification and, on paper, there seems to be little to choose between the two. However, early feedback suggests that photo print quality might be an issue on the Lexmarks and the Intuition is unlikely to be as cheap to run as the Kodak.
In Lexmark's favour, the new printers all come with an extended warranty as standard; three years for the Home Office range and five years for the Professional range. Wi-fi connectivity is also standard across the range, as is Eco Mode which can save up to 8% on energy usage and forces duplex printing to save up to 50% on paper.
The jury's still out on whether customers will want a printer that can display RSS feeds (we don't think they will but you never know) but with wireless networking becoming more popular, the inclusion of Wi-fi as standard across the range will be a big selling point. Extended warranties also help to sell printers, which is just as well because, so far, demand has been slow to say the least.
by Anthony Morgan