In design, the X5250 doesn't wander too far off Lexmark's bodacious sharp edges again. In similar fashion, it has also kept the sleek grey-and-black colour tone that's proved to be largely appealing to the masses. As with its recent models, we were generally pleased with the minimalist design and found it to be functional. Novices should also have no trouble figuring out the controls on the machine as well.
Unlike most printers, there are no fixed installation procedures that you have to follow. You can install the drivers first or let the machine prompt you for them. Included also is a startup guide detailing steps and instructions to help those who are totally clueless. In addition, unlike the manufacturer's budget range, there is no need to remember the model numbers of your ink cartridges. The X5250 is able to detect automatically the type of consumables installed. Likewise, the All-In-One (AIO) is also able to align its cartridges without user inputs.
We do have a few niggling complaints about the X5250, though. The machine -- despite the moderate size -- still has a tight interior found on most other multifunctions. The scanner bed pops open and rests on a brace, revealing the interior of the printer. However, the angle of tilt is quite narrow, making the installation or replacement of cartridges as uncomfortable as other smaller units.
Then there's the problem with usability. The X5250 that Lexmark shipped to us for review was set to the French language. It took us about 30 minutes to change this to English. The troubleshooting portion of the manual did give the correct instructions, but sadly, without providing sufficient explanation.
In terms of speed, the X5250 completed our 10-page test in a rather speedy 1 minute 12 seconds or 8.3 pages per minute. This was even faster than dedicated printer models such as Canon's i865 and Epson's R210. For the photo tests, the X5250 surprised us again, taking only 6.5 minutes to churn out borderless, highest-quality A4-sized picture -- a significant improvement over the normal 29-minute wait for most of the manufacturer's other inkjets.
With regard to quality, the prints produced were mediocre. Text turned out blotchy and smudges distinguished the letters with font sizes smaller than 5 points. For colour outputs, banding and dithering were mostly visible. The story on the photo outputs remained much the same. Pictures largely exhibited dithering on our test prints on glossy media, resulting in grainy outputs. On the upside, the X5250 does produce borderless prints.
The scanner and copier of the X5250 did well with regard to colour fidelity. The scanner delivered images that remained sharp with colours that were vivid and close to the originals. Monochrome scans, too, turned out well. A4-sized scans took about 40 seconds.
Because the X5250 isn't targeted at heavy users, it does not sport an automatic document feeder (ADF). The consequence is that copy speeds of multiple documents will never be acceptable. In our tests, monochrome copies took roughly 35 seconds, while colour ones took 2 minutes. The timings were generally decent. Because the X5250 works as a standalone, we didn't encounter the problems that plagued the X1185.
In all, the X5250 surprised us with its sprightly performance. For less than AU$300, you get the ability to scan, copy as well as print borderless photos. If you're not the finicky sort, this affordable Lexmark might just suit your home and low-usage needs.