Lexmark Prevail Pro705

The Prevail Pro705 is Lexmark's all-purpose office machine and we recommend it for home offices or small work groups; just don't expect it to print out high-quality graphics or high-resolution photos.


8.0
CNET Rating

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Unlike the consumer-oriented Platinum Pro905, the Lexmark Prevail Pro705 is designed for office use with a button-based control panel, an auto-document feeder (ADF) and other features to encourage smooth business workflow. At AU$399, the affordable and speedy Pro705 will be a helpful office assistant, but we hesitate to recommend it if you're printing a lot of photos.

Design and features

The Prevail Pro705's grey-black colour palette is typical for an office printer, but its smooth edges and rounded paper input tray shave off the sharp corners and make the device look more streamlined than the traditional rectangular office printer. It measures 25cm tall, 46.5cm wide and 39.2cm deep so it's easy for anyone to move and reposition around the office.

Physically, the front of the device is much more involved than the simple touchscreen on the Platinum Pro905. Instead of a big touchscreen LCD, the Pro705 opts for a small 2.4-inch colour LCD display with a cluster of shortcut feature buttons surrounding it on all four sides, as well as a directional pad for scrolling through menus and a number pad for dialling numbers on the fax side.

All the new printers from Lexmark include an "Eco Mode" button marked with a green leaf on the right side that triggers two-sided printing, copying and faxing using the duplexer on the back. Lexmark also reduces your ecological footprint with Energy Star certification, and the company even includes an XL-capacity black cartridge in the box — to our knowledge, Lexmark is the only printer vendor to provide this service. In fact, most of them ship printers with a starter cartridge that contains less ink than the refills you'll need to buy in the future.

The paper tray sits on the bottom and gives the Pro705 a unique advantage over the competition. Instead of having just a simple tray like so many others before it, the printer has a silo drawer built into the base that adds more heft and durability to the 150-sheet container. Coupled with a 10,000-page duty cycle, a 150-sheet stack should be enough for a small business.

The printer also has a small media card reader for direct prints, as well as an open PictBridge-compatible USB port that you can use to load photos for printing off a USB flash drive.

You can connect the Pro705 to a host computer using an 802.11n wireless set-up or with a hard-wired USB port. With the included driver disc, we were able to set up the printer to communicate using both technologies in less than 10 minutes; just make sure you have your network log-in and password available.

The printer is one of many to feature Lexmark's newest Vizix individual ink cartridges: one with black pigment for printing text and three dye-based yellow, cyan and magenta cartridges for colour photos. Using the XL-capacity cartridges, which offer a better overall value for the page yield, we calculate the price of black ink as 6 cents per page and colour ink as 11 cents per page. Both rates are about average for a small-office printer, but the HP Officejet Pro 8500 costs less per page and significantly less over time if you print a high volume of pages. HP's printer can also handle 5000 more prints per month than the Lexmark, with its 15,000-page duty cycle.

The Pro 705 ships with minimal paperwork to conserve paper, and you can find most of the instructions, warranty information and promotional offers on the CD included in the box. Along with the drivers that support Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X, the CD also automatically installs several Lexmark productivity programs on your computer.

The Lexmark Toolbar gives you the option to install a shortcut bar on top of your web browser for easy-access printing. Lexmark's Productivity Studio and Imaging Studio programs provide an easy way to auto-edit or crop your photos and include them in a series of creative projects, and the Lexmark Service Center acts as a troubleshooting aide should you encounter a snag in the printing process.

We enjoyed the on-screen progress bar that automatically pops up when you print. It shows you the progress of your job in an easy-to-read percentage bar (the LCD on the control panel also shows the progress) and displays a graphic representation of your ink depletion, with a warning when the paper trays are running low.

Performance

The Lexmark Prevail Pro705 performed at the top of its class in our speed comparison, beating out the Canon Pixma MX870 for the top position in three out of the four speed tests. With the exception of the photo speed tests, the Pro705 is clearly fast enough to keep up with a small or mid-size office's rate of output.

Printer speed comparison test (in pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Presentation speed Photo speed Colour graphics speed Text speed
Lexmark Prevail Pro705
3.62
1.46
3.35
7.33
Canon Pixma MX870
3.5
0.8
2.55
7.18
HP Photosmart C6380
2.59
1.61
2.07
7.1
Canon Pixma MP560
2.93
1.45
2.2
6.74
Kodak ESP 5
2.21
1.37
2.13
4.39

The quality of the black text prints isn't lacking at all; in fact, they are close to laser quality, which we've come to expect from Lexmark. The black lines appear rich with a slight hint of wicking that creates a blurred image, but such imperfections are acceptable with inkjet printers. On the other hand, our graphics and photo printed with the Pro705 suffered from jagged edges and smearing that ultimately create an inferior snapshot, not to mention that the colour photos appear hazy compared with the original.

Service and support

Lexmark covers the Prevail Pro705 with a three-year warranty that includes lifetime priority phone support. In addition, the Lexmark website provides a comprehensive list of FAQs, how-tos, dockets with device specifications, warranty extension information and driver updates.

Conclusion

The Lexmark Prevail Pro705 provides small businesses with all the tools they need to run a successful operation, with an easy set-up process and the possibility of running the printer on a single wireless network. The automatic duplexer and the Eco Mode button on the control panel encourage employees to save money and contribute to the environment by reducing paper consumption by a claimed 50 per cent, so we would recommend this multifunction printer to all, unless you happen to run a photo printing business.

Via CNET

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