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Lexmark P350

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The white and silver P350 is small and lightweight. It measures 9.2 inches wide by 5.8 inches deep by 5 inches tall and weighs 4.1 pounds. The fold up handle makes it easy to tote around, but the included power cord and adapter put a bit of a damper on the portability. We would like to see an optional battery pack for this printer, but even the more expensive Epson PictureMate Pal and Canon Selphy DS810 don't offer a battery option.

On top of the printer is a 2.4 inch color LCD that's mounted on a swivel, which allows the screen to move through a range of about 90 degrees. We like this feature because it lets you optimize the viewing angle for various lighting conditions. The simple control panel features four arrow keys, a check mark button (that is, an OK button), and a back button for navigating menus, plus a button with a palette icon for tweaking images, a one touch red eye reduction button, and a print button.

On the back of the printer lives the input tray, which can hold up to 25 sheets of photo paper. The printer accepts various sizes of paper, up to 4x8 inches, which is a somewhat unusual size, at least in the United States.

If you were to print a 4x6 image on 4x8 paper, you would get a white border around the image, but if you were to print a 4x8 image from a program such as Photoshop, you could make a 4x8 borderless print on the P350.

On the front, there's an output tray, a USB port for flash storage devices or PictBridge cameras, and memory card slots.

You can use the Lexmark P350 as a stand alone snapshot printer, or you can connect it to your PC. If you're setting it up in stand alone mode, simply follow the instructions to insert the single tricolor ink tank and plug in the power cable. If you're setting it up to print from a PC, simply insert the driver CD into your PC and click through the wizard.

To start printing straight from the P350, insert a memory card into the appropriate slot or plug your camera or another flash storage device into the USB port. Using the menu, you can print all the photos on the card in one fell swoop, or all the photos taken on particular dates, or a range of photos. If you're feeling more selective, you can scroll through the photos individually to pick images, make adjustments to them, and print the whole batch when you're done reviewing them.

Finally, you can view all the photos as a slide show and choose pictures on the fly, though the only adjustments you can make in this case are to turn on red eye reduction or rotate the image. You can also print all the photos in index form, which lays out 12 images per 4x6 sheet. This turns out to be less useful than it should be.

The photos on the index sheet are labeled with their filename, but when you scroll through the photos on the LCD, you only see the photo number. To be truly useful, the P350 should give the same set of information in both places (or better yet, both sets of information), so that you could quickly skip through to the image you're interested in, using the index as a reference, which is something the Epson PictureMate Pal and the Selphy DS810 do.


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