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Lexmark X3550

>> Monday, January 5, 2009

The Lexmark X3550 features the company's standard white and light gray body, with silver accents. The printer sits 17.8 inches wide, 7 inches tall, and 12.8 inches deep. The paper input support sticks up from the rear edge of the printer, and the output tray extends from the front. The input area is protected by a translucent plastic guard that deflects small objects such as paper clips and pens.

The control panel is simple and well organized. The centerpiece is the two line, backlit text LCD.

Mode buttons allow you to switch between copy, scan, and photo card tasks, while a menu key and menu navigation buttons allow you to peruse the various menus.

A settings key, a lighter or darker key, and two start buttons (color and black) round out the panel.

Additionally, the X3550 offers two built in memory card readers, as well as a PictBridge enabled USB port for PC free photo printing.

The X3550 employs a two tank ink system, which is standard for printers in this price range. Lexmark offers three tiers of pricing for ink regular capacity regular capacity with return cartridge program and high capacity. The black tank costs $24 (215 pages), $20, and $25 (550 pages), respectively, while the tricolor tank costs $26 (185 pages), $22, and $30 (500 pages), respectively.

Using the cost of the high capacity tanks for the best value, we calculate that a black only page will cost about 4.5 cents and a full color page will cost about 10.5 cents both numbers are reasonable. If you want six color photo prints, Lexmark offers an optional tricolor photo cartridge (to replace the black tank) for $25.

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