With the growth in digital camera sales over the last couple of years, it is surprising that Lexmark has not fully capitalised on the home photo printing market until now. The Kentucky-based company has brought the P6250 all-in-one printer to market in conjunction with the P915 standalone photo printer.
Upside: Lexmark's P6250 has the advantage of being a multifunction device. Aside from producing 6-colour, borderless photos up to 4800 dpi, the P6250 can also perform high resolution scans allowing you to digitise your existing photo albums for archiving or e-mail.
The 2.5-inch colour LCD allows you to preview images and also displays animated tutorials showing users the steps involved to replace ink cartridges. When changing ink, users can store cartridges in a dug out 'garage' to prevent dry-out.
Lifting up the lid reveals the P6250's scanner, which has an illuminated blue corner to provide a visual indication of where to place the photo or document.
Lexmark bundles photo imaging software that provides an interface for the P6250's AIO functions. In the suite is optical character recognition (OCR) software to scan a documents into editable text. A feature called Magic Chops captures multiple photos from the scanner into separate files in a single scan. The software suite can also optimise your images with Auto Redeye Removal, Auto Image Sharpening and Auto Exposure Adjustment.
The P6250 and P915 photo printers are the first from Lexmark to support PictBridge, allowing you to connect a camera to the printer directly -- bypassing the PC -- to print photos. It also has a card reader for direct printing.
On top of the P6250 is a transparent blue protector that stops things -- like dropped pens -- from falling into the printer. The card slot at the front also has a flip down panel to guard from the likes of kids inserting random objects into the holes.
Downside: An obstacle Lexmark faces is the already crowded photo printing market. Canon recently released a range of Pixma photo printers, and Lexmark will be competing against HP and Epson who also have an established line of photo printers. Another possible hindrance is the proliferation of do-it-yourself photo kiosks springing up in shopping centres around Australia and charging customers between 50c and $1 per 10 x 15cm (4 x 6") print.
Outlook: Australian pricing is yet to be announced, but the P6250 retails for US$199 (~AU$285) overseas so it seems reasonably priced for an all-in-one unit capable of photo prints. With consumer-friendly features such as the LCD tutorials and blue light bar, the Home Photo Center makes it easy for amateur photographers to start making their own albums and digitising their existing photos.