Of all the recently announced printers in Lexmark's new range, it's safe to say that the X7675 is the most attractive with its array of two-toned greys and blacks. It's also surprisingly light for such a feature-laden printer.
Unlike the rest of its siblings in the professional range, the X7675 sports a nifty little 2.4-inch colour LCD screen on a tilted panel at the front of the unit. It's not the brightest or the highest resolution screen we've seen but, for the most part, it does its job. There's a full numeric keypad on the front, alongside backlit buttons to switch between modes. Annoyingly, the power button continues to flash even when the printer is in standby mode. Consumables, such as paper and cartridges, are all easily accessible from either the rear or front panels.
Memory card slots are presented on the front of the printer, alongside the function panel, with support for all major formats. There's also a USB port for PictBridge compatible cameras, and for reading and writing to USB keys.
The X7675 is a bit of a jack-in-the-box — open the top lid and you'll be presented with the flatbed scanner, open it again and out pop the ink cartridge holders. There are two high-yield cartridges provided to start you off. Ethernet and wireless capabilities (802.11b/g) are built in, plus compatibility with 802.11n.
That said, we find it incredibly ironic that a printer doesn't come with comprehensive instructions on paper. There's a networking and fax guide, but for simple plug-and-play operation it's all relegated to the included CD with the software and manuals loaded onto it.
In theory, the X7675 is designed for a small office environment that needs a quick, responsive printer with reasonable output quality and a range of functions like scanning and faxing. In practice, it's just not up to scratch for this purpose and, instead, would work best in a home where the printing demands aren't quite so great.
The X7675 can work as a standalone unit or with a computer attached. On its own, the Lexmark performed well, reading off USB and memory cards with ease, though larger files did take a long time to buffer and display on the screen.
Things took a turn for the worse when we tried to establish a connection between the Lexmark and a computer. First of all, the USB connector was impossible to find — after much struggling the CNET Australia team managed to find it hiding behind a yellow sticker on the rear of the unit, underneath the Ethernet and telephone line ports. Then, the installation process was long and cumbersome with every single step from opening the box to putting paper in the tray being demonstrated via an on-screen display. This is great for people who have never seen a printer before but tiresome for everyone else.
The novelty value was further relegated to the scrap heap when copying from the 25-page document feeder. Unless those A4 pages are loaded perfectly straight, expect a multitude of paper jams and frustrating sessions waiting for the printer to recognise that the jam has been cleared. When we did get the document feeder to work, we decided to test the printer's duplex functionality. Seeming to want to test our mirror reading skills, the X7675 proceeded to print one of our pages on one side of the page normally, then printed the other in reverse — a rudimentary lesson in "kaeps sdrawkcab".
To test its scanning capabilities, we performed a scan of a standard 4x6-inch photo print at 600dpi. The scan took around 30 seconds to complete, with writing to a USB key taking an additional five seconds or so. Observing the scanned image on a computer screen highlighted just how the Lexmark struggled with this test. There were artefacts present on the image, and the image lacked the depth and colour vivacity that the original prints had.
Further to this, the Lexmark delivered subpar image prints on plain A4 paper. Visible print lines, weak saturation and blacks that appeared more like grey-blues were the most common faults. For a full page colour print, it took 56 seconds from button press to final printout appearing.
Plain black text fared much better, delivering near laser-quality results except for segments of bold text which did appear to bleed slightly. In copy mode, the unit took 12 seconds from button press to printout, which was reasonably impressive, though the quality of the resulting page was decidedly average.
For the most basic of tasks, such as printing black and white text and copying plain documents, the Lexmark X7675 is a capable machine, but for anything else slightly more strenuous, it struggles. Unless you need the extensive network connectivity offered here, save some money and buy one of the lesser models in Lexmark's line-up.