Laser printers are in big demand and as sizes shrink and functions grow, Lexmark has gone one step further with a printer that is very much a design statement for the desk. But the big question is does the S815 stack up as a good all round printer?
When you open up the box of this all new Lexmark Genesis printer, you’re either going to love it or hate it. There’s no in-between on this clash of interests between design and practicality. The functionality and inventiveness is all there in more ways than one, but everything from the unconventional shape to the subverted angles show that Lexmark must have put more time into pushing design limits than supporting functionality.
The Genesis S815 features scanning times as quick as three seconds through an ingeniously simple idea that dramatically speeds up the everyday scanning process, while still retaining vivid colour and picture quality. Scanning and printing on the fly will reproduce near-perfect copies on the right kind of paper, with high resolution detail clearly visible. Colours on plain paper are washed out from absorption while text is only less sharp if you look obsessively close at the page. Images come out pretty saturated but still high quality for anyone with an eye for detail. Wireless capabilities provide online interaction that lets users send these images they scan straight off to sites like Evernote and Photobucket without using the computer as a middleman.
This is one part of the multi-faceted online capability of SmartSolutions, Lexmark’s customisation tool for the Genesis. Working like an App Store, the Lexmark website offers a Solution Library which pulls up a list of shortcuts and applications to run on the printer’s touch screen. Once you sign up to SmartSolutions, simply touching any ‘+’ symbol will launch the Library on your web browser where users can choose everything from sheet music templates to clock and calculator widgets to give their Genesis the personal touch for whatever they use most.
On that note, the capacitive touch screen is a gorgeously smooth addition compared to the usually resistive and unresponsive screen retrofitted into most older printers, now joining the ranks of printing powerhouses like HP – only that with Lexmark, menu customisation, fluid menu control and extreme simplicity and ease-of-use push it a step ahead of the game (or on par with HP’s Photosmart eStation).
The multifunction centre also features USB and SD/MS/xD/MMC connections alongside Wi-Fi and TCP/IP connectivity, along with fax machine integration.
Earlier last month, Lexmark’s Director of Worldwide Product and Solutions Marketing, Bill Lucas told SmartHouse that “instead of looking at a piece of technology and asking ourselves what we could do with it, we ask users what they want on their printers.”
Apparently users want their printers looking more like their old CRT TV than an actual printer.
Fair enough, the design comes very subjectively and many may like monolithic stature that defies the typically boring, eggshell/grey-white box printer, but some of the design elements impede on practicality. Take the scanner, for example: the front panel that features the touch screen doubles as the lid of the scanner. Not a problem for scanning photos, cards and documents, but a major problem if you’re trying to scan anything as large as an encyclopaedia or bigger. The lid opens from near vertical alignment to around 45 degrees with a few centimetres of give for thicker documents, but thick books or boxes can’t always fit flush against the scanning screen as they would on a face-down flatbed scanner.
If you do manage to fit your larger items into the scanner with the lid open, you’ll then come across the wonder of bending down to use the absentmindedly-placed touch screen that is now facing the floor rather than the user. Even though scanning pages and documents is a breeze, the design compromises any further love for this misunderstood device.
The Lexmark Genesis S815 runs at $449 from participating Harvey Norman, Domayne & Joyce Mayne outlets.