Sharing an almost identical look to the X7675 which we reviewed recently, the X5650 is a relatively bulky multifunction printer, clad in black and grey plastics. At the front sits the control panel with all printing options accessible from the four mode buttons at the top (copy, scan, fax and photo).
There's a numeric keypad at the front, as well as a series of fax and settings buttons. To the side sit the card slots, with support for SD, Memory Stick, xD, MMC, Compact Flash and USB.
Unpack the rest of the box and you'll be presented with the printer, a power cable and two cartridges (colour and black) to get you started. You will need to supply your own USB cable. Documentation is limited, with just a simple one page set-up guide. The rest of the documentation and set-up procedure is relegated to electronic guides on the software and driver CD.
Almost identical to the X6675 in the Lexmark line-up, the X5650 has fax functionality, whereas the X6675 has wireless connectivity instead of fax. With a two-line OLCD screen at the front of the unit, you won't be able to view anything but text and the most basic menu options on the screen.
A 25-page document feeder is part of the package, and so too is the option for borderless photo prints.
It took us eight minutes all up to install the software and drivers. Like on the X7675, we still wish there was an option to skip straight to the software installation if you don't want to be guided step-by-step through the process of unpacking and installing cartridges, and configuring the printer.
Unlike on other multifunction printers with card readers, when you insert a memory card into the X5650 without a computer attached, you are only able to print the last photo, all photos, or photos printed within a certain date range when you insert a memory card without a computer attached — we're guessing this limitation is only applied to the printer because of the two-line text screen. Fortunately, if your computer is attached to the printer, you can view the images from the Lexmark Fast Pics software.
Overall, the X5650 didn't perform as well as we expected in the speed stakes — the HP Photosmart C6380 that we recently tested was much faster — but the quality was reasonable enough for us to forgive these slower speeds.
First up, we performed a simple test print with a seven-page document, with a couple of small colour images and black and white text. It took 28 seconds from sending the document to the printer to the first page appearing on the tray. The rest of the pages took an average of 41 seconds depending on the content of the page.
Next up came our photo printing test. While the X5650 isn't specifically designed to be a photo printer, it has photo printing capabilities so we set it to work. We sent a colour photo for a 10x15cm print through to the printer from our computer, and it took 30 seconds for the Lexmark software interface to respond and send the job to the printer itself. All up it took two minutes and 20 seconds for a full colour print to emerge from the unit — which is decidedly slow compared to other models we've tested in the past.
So, was the print worth the wait? Not exactly. As would be expected from a printer without dedicated colour ink tanks, colour prints weren't that impressive. The X5650 decided to give most of our test images a warm tinge, favouring reds and oranges, and print droplets were easily visible on surfaces with detail. Strong areas of red also bled slightly into surrounds, especially when set against a white background.
In terms of scanning functionality, the X5650 took 36 seconds to scan and deliver a plain black and white A4 text document, and one minute five seconds to deliver an A4 colour and black text document. The results were pleasing but not stellar — text was mostly crisp with a little loss of definition around large letters, but colour rendition was generally acceptable. We then copied a 10x15cm photo print onto another sheet of 10x15cm photo paper. It took around the same time to copy and print as it did to send a photo from the computer to the printer — two minutes 21 seconds.
The copy was very faithful to the original in terms of detail, but it did crop the image slightly. Again, like the colour photo prints before, the X5650 definitely veered into warm colour territory much more than any other multifunction we've tested. Blacks weren't particularly deep, and all prints had much more red than they should have had.
The printer did tend to enter sleep mode a little too frequently for our liking, but for most users in a home situation, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Cartridges and warranty
Lexmark sells high yield cartridges which are compatible with this printer. They are identical to the normal cartridges except they are capable of printing twice as many pages. In conjunction with Planet Ark, Lexmark provides postage paid return envelopes for cartridges to be sent back for recycling.
High yield colour cartridges work out to be around AU$50, and black and white AU$43 at the time of writing.
Lexmark offers a 45-day money back guarantee on its printer range, as well as a one-year on-site exchange policy and lifetime technical support.