The Interact S605 is Lexmark's top-of-the-range wireless all-in-one inkjet printer. It separates itself from the rest of the models in the range by including a large touchscreen display. The printer can be picked up for around £180 online.
Setting the S605 up is very straightforward, as long as you pay heed to the warnings to put the installation CD in your computer before you do anything else. The CD runs an installation wizard, complete with video, to guide you through the entire process, from taking the protective tapes off the printer, to installing cartridges and printing the align page. The steps are also shown on the printer's touchscreen, so you can't really go far wrong.
The printer uses Lexmark's Vizix printing system, incorporating four separate cartridges: a large black one, plus three half-sized cartridges for yellow, blue and magenta. The cartridges are easy to install, but, initially, it can be tricky to tell whether they've connected properly.
We found that setting up Wi-Fi was a breeze. Unlike many rival models, you don't have to first connect the printer up to a computer via USB. Instead, you can do it right from the touch panel. You simply select your network from the list and then enter the password using the on-screen keyboard.
The S605's touchscreen interface is the best we've seen on a printer so far. It presents you with three main icons -- 'copy', 'scan' and 'SmartSolutions'. SmartSolutions are basically widgets that you can download from Lexmark's site to enable you to perform common print, scan and copy tasks. It's a neat idea and useful in practice.
There are some other interesting widgets available too, including an RSS reader and Google Calendar viewer. These are fun to play around with for a while, but is anybody all that bothered about viewing RSS feeds on a printer screen? Probably not.
Smaller icons at the bottom of the interface let you check the ink cartridge levels, enable double-sided printing and customise the eco mode. Next to the screen, there's a Wi-Fi logo that lights up green when the printer's connected to your network, and turns red when there's a problem.
The printer has a single memory-card slot, but this can read SD, Memory Stick and xD-Picture cards. There's also a USB port that can be used to print pictures from hard drives and PictBridge-compatible USB devices.
The printer receives paper via a fold-out tray at the rear. The tray only takes 100 sheets, so you may find yourself having to top it up rather more than you'd like.
Not half nippy
When it comes to printing speeds, this model is a pretty rapid performer. We tested it over Wi-Fi in conjunction with a Dell laptop. It printed ten pages of black text in 1 minute and 32 seconds, and managed to print ten pages of colour graphics in 7 minutes and 3 seconds. Copying ten pages of black and white text and graphics took 1 minute and 35 seconds, while printing a single 4- by 6-inch photo took 1 minute and 24 seconds.
Using the high-capacity XL cartridge prices from Lexmark's own site, print costs for a black page work out at 5.45p per page, while a colour page will cost you 11.85p per page. Both these figures include 0.7p costs for paper. These figures are higher than those of competing printers, but you should be able to source cheaper cartridges by shopping around online.
The S605's black text print quality is excellent and compares well to many laser printers' output. But the S605 isn't quite as good when working with colour graphics documents. Its photo prints are quite good, though, and a substantial improvement on those of older Lexmark printers. Colours come out looking strong, skin tones are natural, and there's plenty of detail in trickier, brightly lit areas of an image.
The scanning quality is impressive too. The results match up well with the original image, especially when it comes to colours.
The Lexmark Interact S605 is very user-friendly. Although its graphics printing isn't the best we've seen, this printer produces quality text and photo prints, and it's nippy too. It all adds up to an impressively slick package from Lexmark.
Edited by Charles Kloet