Inkjet technology has done wonders to lower the cost of -- and pile functions onto -- multifunction workgroup printers. For the latest example, look no further than the OfficeEdge Pro5500 color multi-function printer by Lexmark. This workgroup workhorse is designed for a small office of two to five people, and its pricing and usability features are designed to back that up.
For a street price of $399, the small office receives laser-quality duplex color and b/w copying and printing at up to 21 pages per minute; automatic two-sided scanning of as many as 50 pages at a time; Ethernet, WiFi and USB connectivity; Android, iPhone and walk-up USB and memory card printing; high-capacity ink reservoirs and paper-bin options; faxing of course, and a touch-sensitive color control panel to configure and monitor operations and keep everything working.
The CRN Test Center found a lot to like about its control panel, which groups printer functions by copy, scan and fax, plus a "smart solutions" group for customized and downloadable functions. Below those large icons are buttons for networking and eco modes, an area for all other printer settings (the wrench) and a screen showing ink levels. All are in an easy-to-navigate format, and longer lists can be scrolled by swiping or using the scroll bar.
As for performance, the OfficeEdge Pro5500 stood up to its ratings in every test. All test printing was output from a laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium and Lexmark's universal print driver. With an all-text monochrome letter-size document, the unit delivered exactly 21 pages per minute in its "laser-quality" black and white mode. Next, 15 copies of a like-sized document containing various color graphics reached the output bin in just over a minute, which we approximated to be the Pro5500's 14-ppm-rated speed in high-resolution color mode. Time to first print -- about seven seconds in both cases -- was subtracted from total print time.
Where the Pro5500 really shines is in the speed and simplicity of its scanning.
After hitting the scan button, the bright 4.3-inch display prompts for a selection of one of five destinations to save the scanned image, which include computer, network share and memory card (SD, MS, xD or MMC), or stick. Then it prompts for a file format -- either JPG or PDF. Then the green start button appeared, and within 15 seconds of hitting it, we were walking away with the digitized image saved onto our USB thumb drive. A 50-sheet feeder (for copying or scanning) is the icing on the cake.
Even the small office will likely opt for the 550-sheet auxiliary feeder to boost the capacity of its sturdy standard 300-sheet drawer. The output bin can handle 150 sheets, and its recommended monthly volume is 500 to 1500 pages. The front-loading CMYK ink cartridges are rated at 1000 pages for black (K) and 900 pages for CM and Y.
Available in the channel since January, the Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro5500 color MFP will clearly give resellers an edge in terms of price, functionality and speeds. And it's a recommended product by the CRN Test Center.