Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lexmark Pro205 All-in-one Review

I love the concept of a wireless all in one.  In addition to wanting it to serve multiple computers, I was looking forward to being able to scan mail quickly and easily without having to be working at a computer at the time.  However, ultimately, I'm a bit disappointed with this purchase.

I was able to set it up on the first XP computer with ease, and it found my wireless network without problem.  However the CD drivers and the online update to those drivers failed repeatedly on a windows 7 machine.  Later, when I plugged the unit into the win 7 machine, Windows was able to install drivers correctly without the aid of the CD. 

The paper handling on the machine is pretty much useless.  For some reason it's exceptionally ease to "over insert" paper into the feeder.  Any paper with the slightest fold causing it to have a bit of lift on the leading edge is automatically considered "over inserted" complete with beeping and flashing warnings.  This is terrible, because any mail that arrives inevitably has a fold in it, so it's really no better than a plan flatbed scanner.

Also, I think the designers really missed a lot of great opportunities when they put this machine together.  It's on a network, so why not just scan the document and then email it me.  That would ensure that I don't need to have a computer turned on, and would also mean that I can automatically keep an archive of scanned documents on the web.  Instead, my choices are to scan document to either a memory card or a program on a running computer.  You can configure which programs will accept scanned files but it's awkward and, of course, the computer needs to be turned on at the time.

The memory card feature is another missed opportunity.  Since the machine is basically always on, it would make sense to have the memory device show up as a shared drive on the network.  But it doesn't.  Sneaker-net is the only way to move the file to your computer, and that assumes your computer has a memory card reader.  I wish you could hook a usb drive into the machine and have it work as a shared drive. 

I haven't done much printing or copying yet, so I'll leave those topics to others.  Cheers.

Follow Up, Jan 14: Okay, I've done some printing now.  Not impressed.  The machine seems to have very few sensors following the plight of paper jams.  It doesn't stop printing until the printhead literally cannot move, so instead of one page to remove, there are multiple pages crammed into the machine like some sort of oragami interstate pile up.

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