Top critical review
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I wanted to love this printer!
on June 12, 2012
I really wanted to love this printer. I researched the Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro5500, the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600, and Brother MFC-J6910dw.
I'm trying to go paperless, which is surprisingly difficult considering all the necessary technology to make this simple has been around for many years.
I was primarily looking for a wireless printer/scanner that could scan to network folders. All three models I researched have this capability.
The HP OfficeJet was a top contender initially until I read how it has a problem feeding card stock.
The Brother seems to be an incredible value for all that it offers. It has the most paper feeding options of all three AIOs I researched. It's the only printer to include a manual feed tray. It also scans and prints up to 11" x 17".
I ended up going with the Lexmark when I discovered their seemingly brilliant "Smart Solutions". Smart Solutions are essentially apps for the printer to handle specific tasks like logging into Google Docs and printing without a computer or printing a map from MapQuest (they don't have a Google Maps app). HP also has apps, but many of them seemed less useful.
On the Lexmark, you can even create custom Smart Solutions so that you can press one button and scan or print with specific settings. I created a "Wells Fargo" button to scan anything I get from Wells Fargo into a Wells Fargo folder. I did the same for other types of documents I wanted to scan.
All this seemed to be great until I used the Smart Solutions.
I installed a bunch of Smart Solutions to really see the potential of printer apps. Unfortunately, it wasn't the greatest experience. When you go to print from any of the apps, it takes 15-20 seconds or so to even begin printing. The Facebook app did not work. The Sodoku app printed an advertisement for Lexmark. The Graph Paper app printed graph paper, but the lines were very fat and thick unlike what you'd buy in the store. I couldn't figure out how to get the Google Calendar app to print a month calendar of all my events. All in all, it was a disappointing experience for me.
All this would have been okay with me since the custom Smart Solutions I created for scanning to a network folder worked like I wanted, however, the scanning capabilities leave a lot to be desired for my needs.
I may be spoiled by some of the capabilities of my Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500. It automatically detects the size of the paper you're scanning and crops accordingly. So, it can scan a set of documents with mismatched paper sizes, no problem. It also scans both sides automatically and discards any blank pages. The Lexmark can not do any of this. When scanning with the Lexmark you have to specify the size of the paper you're scanning. So if you have it set to scan at letter size and feed in a legal size page, it'll cut off the last 3 inches of the resulting PDF. If you reverse the scenario, the resulting PDF will have an extra 3 inches of white appended to the letter size document. This is a problem for me since my goal is to quickly scan in and trash incoming paper. Some of my bills have a combination of paper sizes. Some of them aren't standard paper sizes at all. If you wanted to scan in receipts, you'll have to use the flatbed for that. I don't know what the smallest sized document the ADF can take, but the narrowest the guides will go is to about 5.5".
I will say this. I'm quite picky when it comes to things like this. I like technology to adapt to my needs and workflow. I don't like to work within limitations of technology when those limitations don't have to be there. All this said, the printer may work great for you.
This is what Lexmark seems to have gotten right...
- Great looking machine.
- Nice looking touch screen.
- Smart Solutions has great potential.
- Overall feature set is good.
- Print quality is decent.
- Scan quality is decent.
- ADF scans both sides of the paper simultaneously (other duplex scanners have to flip the page which takes longer).
This is what I wish it had...
- Refined scanning capabilities (auto-detect paper sizes, able to scan receipts via the ADF, auto-detect and remove blank pages)
- Fast, refined, and reliable Smart Solutions that work like like you'd expect them to.
- Faster and more responsive touch screen.
Other notes: The printer is a bit buggy. There were several strange hiccups while setting up and configuring the device to my liking.
If any readers out there are also seeking paperless nirvana, please let me know if you know of a better solution. I'm looking for a way to be able to scan and sort right from the device. I'd like to be able to do this by creating custom buttons on the scanner that automatically dump whatever I scan into corresponding folders.