Lexmark's portable P350 photo printer brings snapshot printing into the home, albeit slowly. Priced at around £100, the P350 prints 100x150mm (4x6-inch) photos at a pokey rate, but with acceptable print quality for casual snapshooters. Although they cost a little more, we prefer either the Epson PictureMate Pal or the Canon Selphy DS810, both of which offer better-thought-out features and faster print speeds.
The white-and-silver P350 is small and lightweight. It measures 127 by 235 by 147mm and weighs 1.84kg. The fold-up handle makes it easy to carry, but the included power cord and adaptor put a damper on the portability. We would like to see an optional battery pack for this printer, but even the more expensive Epson PictureMate Pal and Canon Selphy DS810 don't offer a battery option.
On top of the printer is a 61mm (2.4-inch) colour LCD that's mounted on a swivel, allowing the screen to move through a range of about 90 degrees. We like this feature because it lets you optimise the viewing angle for various lighting conditions. The simple control panel features four arrow keys, a check mark button (that is, an OK button), a back button for navigating menus, a button with a palette icon for tweaking images, a one-touch red-eye-reduction button and a print button.
On the back of the printer lives the input tray, which can hold up to 25 sheets of photo paper. The printer accepts various sizes of paper, up to 100x200mm (4x8 inches) -- a somewhat unusual size. If you were to print a 100x150mm image on 100x200mm paper, you would get a white border around the image, but if you were to print a 100x200mm image from a program such as Photoshop, you could make a 100x200mm borderless print on the P350. On the front, there's an output tray, a USB port for flash storage devices or PictBridge cameras and memory card slots.
You can use the Lexmark P350 as a stand-alone snapshot printer, or you can connect it to your PC. If you're setting it up in stand-alone mode, simply follow the instructions to insert the single tricolour ink tank and plug in the power cable. If you're setting it up to print from a PC, simply insert the driver CD into your PC and click through the wizard.
To start printing straight from the P350, insert a memory card into the appropriate slot or plug your camera or another flash storage device into the USB port. Using the menu, you can print all the photos on the card in one fell swoop, or all the photos taken on particular dates, or a range of photos. If you're feeling more selective, you can scroll through the photos individually to pick images, make adjustments to them, and print the whole batch when you've finished reviewing them. Finally, you can view all the photos as a slide show and choose pictures this way, though the only adjustments you can make in this case are to turn on red-eye reduction or rotate the image.
You can also print all the photos in index form, which lays out 12 images per 100x150mm sheet. This turns out to be less useful than it should be -- the photos on the index sheet are labelled with their filename, but when you scroll through the photos on the LCD, you only see the photo number. To be truly useful, the P350 should give the same set of information in both places (or better yet, both sets of information), so that you can quickly skip through to the image you're interested in, using the index as a reference, which is something the Epson PictureMate Pal and the Selphy DS810 do.
If you want to make enhancements to the photos, you have a few limited options. For example, you can manually adjust brightness, but not contrast or colour tones. You can also crop an image, turn on Auto Enhance, turn on red-eye reduction, apply colour effects such as sepia, antique brown and antique grey, rotate the image or add a frame.