Lexmark's so-so all-in-one

SAN FRANCISCO (11/21/2003) - The new PrinTrio Photo P3150 from Lexmark International Inc. is a photo-oriented multifunction printer attractively priced at US$100. It's also simple to use, with one-touch scanning and copying, as well as a driver that makes setting up, editing, and printing photos easy, even for novices.

The P3150 places memory card slots up front, which lets you quickly upload images from CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Microdrive, MultiMediaCard, SD (Secure Digital), and SmartMedia cards to your PC, then edit and print them. The photographs that our shipping P3150 printed on glossy paper had rich colors, showed smooth transitions, and exhibited just slight graininess. A 4.5-by-7-inch photograph printed in 93 seconds, compared with an average of 73 seconds for other MFPs we've tested. Though 20 seconds isn't a long time, speed matters if you print a lot of photos.

But as a copier, the P3150 is a disappointment. At the default settings (designed for black-and-white photos), text and color copies were light and faded, and came out very slowly. When we changed the settings, copies started emerging much more quickly, but their quality was still poor.

Scanning on the P3150's flatbed was easy -- done with a single push of the button on the console. The print quality of the scanned documents was fairly good, though as in the copies, the text was light and washed out.

Printed text looked slightly jagged but surprisingly good for output from a photo printer, though nonphoto color prints appeared washed out and foggy. Print speeds were comparable to those of other multifunction printers: 4.8 pages per minute for text and 0.3 ppm for color graphics.

The PrinTrio Photo P3150 won't serve as a rugged multifunction printer, but it is a reasonably good photo printer with an appealing price.

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